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December 2006

2nd Annual Woodlands Trail Classic – Awards by Debbie Kraemer Accent Regional Effort

classicaward2006Despite heavy rainfall for the days preceding the 2nd Annual Woodlands Trail Classic, the event was a grand success!  132 individuals registered to participate in the New Year’s Eve event held on Woodlands Trail in Belle Chasse.  McDonalds, General DeGaulle arrived early to provide breakfast before the race.  Following the race, participants listened to music provided by “The Stargeezers” and enjoyed food and beverages provided by Abita Brewing, Algiers Kiwanis Morning Edition, Boomtown Casino and Whole Foods.  Benny Rousselle and Katie Brasted gave out 35 awards in various categories.  The unique awards were created by Debbie Kraemer of DK Clay and Pottery on Magazine Street.  Debbie utilized the shape of the upper portion of the Barataria-Terrebonne Basin to serve as the background of the award and thus representing the regional focus of Woodlands Trail and Park.  The center of the award contained the Palmetto, a plant common to the understory in the bottomland hardwood forest.  The 2nd Annual Woodlands Trail Classic was presented by ConocoPhilips and sponsored by West Jefferson Fitness Center, Freeport-McMoRan, Chevron Oronite, Fidelity Homestead, Computers, Communication & Controls.  Despite the rustic conditions of the trail, race organizers received nothing but positive feedback of the experience such as a comment from Mark Schafer, Baton Rouge participant, “we had a blast, nothing like we have ever ran in before.  We are looking forward to making it an annual run for us”.

November 2006

Woodlands Trail and Park Nominated for Preserve America Award


Plaquemines Parish President Benny Rousselle (left) and Councilwoman Lynda Banta (right) present a Certified Council Resolution supporting Woodlands Trail and Park’s nomination for the Preserve America Presidential Award to President of Woodlands Trail and Park, Katie Brasted (center)

Woodlands Trail and Park, currently recognized as one of three American Heritage Rivers Initiative “Keystone” projects for Louisiana, was nominated for the Preserve America Presidential Award by the Board of Directors of Algiers Economic Development Foundation.  The mission of AEDF is to “foster, coordinate, and advance economic growth through industrial, commercial and tourism development and help retain existing business:  To protect and encourage residential development and to promote civic pride and awareness of Algiers”.  According to AEDF President, Glenn Orgeron, “Woodlands Trail and Park meshes with that mission to increase tourism while maintaining the quality of life elements that Fortune 500 Company executives evaluate when making decision about relocating to a new community”.

Laura Bush helped to start Preserve America, a national program to protect our cultural and natural heritage.  The program recognizes efforts across the nation to encourage Americans to get involved in preserving main streets, parks, and community heritage treasures.   According to Woodlands Trail and Park President, Katie Brasted, “Plaquemines Parish has demonstrated its passion and pride in Louisiana’s  natural and historic treasures by its longstanding support of Woodlands Trail and Park through resolutions and ordinances beginning with the first presentation of the project in 2001”.  When Councilwoman Lynda Banta heard of the nomination of the Preserve America Presidential award, she insisted on introducing a resolution supporting the nomination by AEDF.  The resolution passed by the Plaquemines Parish Council proclaimed support for Woodlands Trail and Park’s nomination “in view of the longstanding dedication of [Woodlands Trail and Park] to form a coalition of local, regional and national partnerships with governmental entities, private citizens and corporations to preserve, protect and celebrate our priceless and natural heritage”.    The nomination packet also included supporting letters by Plaquemines Parish President Benny Rousselle and Senator David Vitter.

September 2006

Mignon Faget – Woodlands Trail Palmetto Brings Increased Attention to Louisiana

govpic2During the Plaquemines Area Business and Industry luncheon at Woodland Plantation on Wednesday, September 13, 2006, founding members of Woodlands Trail and Park, Katie Brasted (left) and Plaquemines Parish President, Benny Rousselle, (right) presented Governor Kathleen Blanco (center) with a Mignon Faget Palmetto Pin in recognition of her long-standing support of Woodlands Trail and Park’s regional greenway efforts. The Woodlands organization noted that they were anxious to move forward with the execution of the awards received from the Governor’s Office of Community Programs in 2003 and 2005.  Proceeds from the exclusive Mignon Faget Palmetto pendants and lapel pins benefit the nonprofit organization, Woodlands Trail and Park in expanding greenway corridors in one of Southeastern Louisiana’s last stands of bottomland hardwoods.   Brasted noted that the Palmetto has been purchased by individuals in 10 parishes in Louisiana and 10 states across the nation plus Washington, DC.  thereby bringing increased attention to Woodlands Trail and Park and America’s Wetlands.   The Mignon Faget – Woodlands Trail and Park Palmetto is available exclusively through Woodlands Trail and Park, available on-line and locally in the New Orleans area at Jeff’s Haberdashery in Village Aurora on the Westbank and on Severn in Metairie.

 July 2006

Partners Tackle Invasive Species

(left to right) Doug Daigle, Mississippi River Basin Alliance, David Muth, Orleans Audubon Society, Betsy Brien, ConocoPhillips, John Rapp, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

(left to right) Doug Daigle, Mississippi River Basin Alliance, David Muth, Orleans Audubon Society, Betsy Brien, ConocoPhillips, John Rapp, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Woodlands Trail and Park recently organized a hike and working lunch to get advice from partnering organizations on the development of plans to address the increasing growth of invasive species in the forested property dedicated to Woodlands Trail and Park.  Prior to Hurricane Katrina, Chinaberry, Chinese Tallow and Chinese Privet were identified along the edges of the Plaquemines Parish forested property.   Over 70% of the trees sustained damage during the past hurricane season.  Without the canopy of some of the old growth areas, invasive species are beginning to flourish.  Removal and treatment of the invasives by fall will give the native species an advantage by taking away the competition for sunlight and give them a jumpstart on maintaining their dominant role.

Following a hike in the woods to review the extent of the damages, ConocoPhillips, a long-time corporate friend to Woodlands, sponsored a working lunch to assist in the development a grant proposal to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.  A separate hike was conducted the following week with Joan Exnicios, Army Corp of Engineers, American Heritage Rivers Initiative and Tom Campbell, Louisiana Department of Agriculture to get further input.  The organizations have partnered together in the submission of a grant to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, entitled “Woodlands Invasive Species Project” to address treatment of  200-acres of forested property.  Over 100 species of Neo-tropical Migratory birds and abundant wildlife depend on the native habitat for their survival.  The Woodlands group is faced with raising $100,000 in order to match the requirements of the grant and implement the treatment protocol.

June 2006

Wal-Mart Foundation Presents Grant to Woodlands Trail and Park

walmartwebNew Orleans, Louisiana.  At the morning Wal-Mart staff meeting on June 02, 2006, Percy Shaw, Wal-Mapresented a Community Grant to Woodlands Trail and Park to assist in the efforts in establishing regional trails and greenways in the Lower Coast Algiers and Belle Chasse communities.  Katie Brasted, President of Woodlands Trail and Park, accepted the contribution and expressed appreciation to the employees of Wal-Mart Store #1163 for their long-standing support and participation in events at the Woodlands Trail and Park site.   The Wal-Mart Foundation recently provided funding for refreshments during Woodlands Trail and Park’s celebration of America’s Wetlands Month that was held in May to release the Mignon Faget Palmetto designed to bring attention to America’s Wetlands and benefit the nonprofit organization, Woodlands Trail and Park.

May 2006

Proclamations Support Regional Greenway

councilmtgrAt the New Orleans City Council Meeting on May 25, 2006, the Louisiana Wildlife Federation and the New Orleans City Council issued proclamations to Katie Brasted, President and Founder of Woodlands Trail and Park in support of “implementation of conservation efforts that will protect and improve the environment for the future well-being of our children and the wildlife we treasure”.  In recognition of May being America’s Wetlands Month, Councilman-at-Large Oliver Thomas, Chairman of the Riverfront Development Committee,  initiated a supporting proclamation by the New Orleans City Council.  He noted that the Woodlands project provides an  “economic opportunity to deal with our wetlands, ecosystem and national treasures”.  After presentation of the framed proclamation by the Louisiana Wildlife Federation, Edgar Veillon, LWF and Representative to the National Wildlife Federation, reiterated the support for Woodlands Trail and Park’s efforts to establish greenway corridors by noting that such forested properties “are our first line of defense against hurricane winds” and that the Woodlands effort “presents a wealth of opportunities for recreation and in doing so generates millions of dollars for the state economy”.  Follow link for Full Article

Woodlands Trail and Park Celebrates America’s Wetlands Month

betsykatieAfter an announcement on the WWLTV Morning Show on Tuesday, May 02, 2006, over sixty students, teachers and community citizens came to the Woodlands site the following day to Celebrate America’s Wetlands Month and the progress made in re-establishing trails.  The Woodlands group expressed appreciation to Instructor Tony Danos and his Alternative Classroom students who constructed the information Kiosk that is now posted at the entrance to the trail.
Judy Jones and Patti Faulkner, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, presented “Natural Areas Registry” signs to be posted within the park.and a plaque to Plaquemines Parish President Benny Rousselle in gratitude for designating over 600-acres as “Woodlands Trail and Park Bird Sanctuary”.   Jan Rice and her class of first graders from Belle Chasse Primary school hiked to the celebration and along the trails while having fun identifying plants and trees that are native to the bottomland hardwood forest.  The celebration of America’s Wetlands Month culminated in Mignon Faget’s presentation of the Palmetto jewelry to benefit Woodlands Trail and Park. Ms. Faget described the early historical use of the Palmetto to create thatch roofs and its other contributions to the early economy of Louisiana. Following the presentation, participants enjoyed a picnic lunch provided by Chevron Oronite, Oak Point Plant.


February 2006

Tenant Foundation and Meadowcrest Hospital Contribute to Woodlands

tenetMichael D. Beaver, J.D.,  Interim CEO for Meadowcrest Hospital and Katie Brasted chose the newly refurbished courtyard of Meadowcrest Hospital for the presentation of a contribution to Woodlands Trail and Park.  Mr. Beaver expressed that the natural setting was fitting for the delivery of a contribution to Woodlands efforts to provide a quality of life amenity to the community that will provide increased opportunities for health through fitness and outdoor activities.  The contribution made on behalf of the Tenet Foundation and Meadowcrest Hospital will assist the Woodlands organization in re-establishing trails in the Belle Chasse community.


Mignon-Faget Joins Woodlands Trail and Park in “Creating a Legacy” for Future Generations

conocomfNew Orleans, Louisiana.    Mignon Faget and Woodlands Trail and Park agreed that World Wetlands Day, 2006, with a theme of “Wetlands and water – supporting life, sustaining livelihoods” was the perfect occasion on which to announce their partnership in “Creating a Legacy” for future generations.

Mignon Faget is a highly acclaimed New Orleans legend, well known for her jewelry collections inspired by the beauty and culture of New Orleans, Louisiana and the Gulf Coast.  The Mignon Faget design created for Woodlands Trail and Park was that of a Palmetto.  Mignon Faget noted that it is the Palmetto or Sabal Minor that was chosen for the design as it is one of the most commonly seen plants in the understory of our precious bottomland hardwood forests.   The jewelry to initially be produced as a pendant and a lapel pin was underwritten by ConocoPhillips, a long-time corporate sponsor of Woodlands Trail and Park and efforts in uniting the river communities of Orleans and Plaquemines Parish with a series of educational, historical and recreational greenways. Our Lady of Holy Cross College was the host site for the press-conference and celebration of World Wetlands Day.  Pictured above under the live oaks on the OLHCC property are left to right, Betsy Brien, Public Affairs Specialist, ConocoPhillips, Mignon Faget presenting the Palmetto Design,  Katie Brasted, Woodlands Trail and Park and Carol Cowley, Woodlands Trail and Park.

 Woodlands Trail Work Weekend —  February 4th – 5th

DSCN1889Over 30 volunteers showed up on Woodlands Trail Work Weekend to help re-establish Woodlands Trail – America’s Wetland Birding Trail.  Thanks to Dr. Barbara Benson and her University of Louisiana Lafayette students, Louisiana Hiking Club and  area volunteers for making this a fun and productive weekend!   Special Thanks to Meme’s Catering,  Chevron Oronite, Oak Point Plant for providing our picnic lunch, Popeye’s on Belle Chasse Hwy., Home-Depot for needed supplies and the US Coast Guard for easing our access to the trail site.


Woodlands Trail Work Weekend — February 4th and 5th

DSCN1878New Orleans, Louisiana.  In an effort to begin recapturing Woodlands Trail-America’s Wetland Birding Trail, Woodlands Trail and Park has scheduled a work weekend at the beginning of February.   Dr. Barbara Benson, professor of University of Louisiana, Lafayette, has volunteered her students in Naturalist and Docent Practices to take on the massive task of re-marking the 13.6 miles of trails within the bottomland hardwood forest in Belle Chasse. Prior to Hurricane Katrina, Woodlands Trail had completed the work of marking and hand-clearing 13.6 miles of trails to be used by birdwatchers, hikers, horseback riders and other outdoor enthusiasts.  The public was first given a bird’s eye view of Woodlands Trail on June 04, 2005, National Trails Day.  Although the forested area provided a major wind damage protection to the surrounding residential areas during the recent hurricane season, approximately 60% of the trees have fallen in such a way to mask signs of previous trails and markings.

Navigation Electronics, Inc., Lafayette, has loaned four GPS Trimble Units and agreed to train students in their use to assist in re-staking the trail system.    Students will be joined by the Louisiana Hiking Club and area volunteers to mark the trails and remove debris.  The base for the organized work weekend will be at the future entrance to Woodlands Trail near the WWII Swimming Pool on F. Edward Hebert Blvd. in Belle Chasse.  ULL students are arriving Friday afternoon  and camping out over night to have an early start at 8:30 a.m. Saturday morning.  The Louisiana Hiking Club is scheduled to arrive at 9:00 a.m. Saturday morning to assist in clearing pathways.  The LHC plans to camp out Saturday night and continue some trail clearing work Sunday morning.

Anyone interested in showcasing their debris removal skills or just wanting to spend some time in the great outdoors, please contact Woodlands Trail and Park at either (504) 433-4000 or at


 December 2005

New Year’s Eve Woodlands Trail Classic — Fun Run 5k is a Grand Success!

The misty morning fog did nothing to dampen the spirits or attendance at the first Woodlands Trail Classic – Fun Run and 5K family event held in Belle Chasse.  Participants donned New Year’s party hats, courtesy of Party City, and proceeded to “Les Bon Temps Roulez” along the Mighty Mississippi River.  According to members of the New Orleans Track Club, the Woodlands race had record attendance for a first time event.  In addition to the over 60 individuals who pre-registered, over 100 individuals showed up on race day to register.  Due to the substantial damage to Woodlands Trail, the race route was unable to include portions of Woodlands Trail-America’s Wetland Birding Trail.  Thanks to Tulane University’s generous agreement to allow Woodlands Trail and Park to utilize their property for the race,  participants were able to have a glimpse of bottomland hardwoods and WWII Ammunition Magazines that are similar in characteristic to sites to be seen along the future Woodlands Trail route.  Following the race, participants and non-race participants enjoyed music by “The Stargeezers” and food and drink provided by Algiers Morning Edition Kiwanis Club, Aurora Country Club Catering, Plaquemines Historic Association, Abita Brewing Company and Corn and Crane Creative.



The AIM Group Gives Back to Louisiana – Joins Woodlands Trail in “Creating a Legacy”

aimpresswebThe Woodlands, Texas —-On Tuesday, November 29, 2005, the AIM Group, Inc. became the latest sponsor of the Woodlands Trail Classic, a 5K and 1-mile Fun Run family event to be held in the Greater New Orleans area on December 31, 2005. Proceeds from the event will benefit the nonprofit organization, Woodlands Trail and Park, in their long-standing mission to unite the river communities of Orleans and Plaquemines parish with a series of educational, recreational and historical greenways.

“All geographical areas require homes, bridges, roads and other basic infrastructure but without quality of life and sustainability of the environment, we won’t have livable communities”, says Michael Child, “The Aim Group wants to ensure that future generations will benefit from the seeds sown today, and we want to urge others to also stand beside Woodlands Trail and Park and help them in “Creating a Legacy”.  AIM Group becomes sponsor of race, The Villager, December 29, 2005


November 2005

Woodlands Trail and Park Receives National Award for Local Greenway

Woodlands Trail and Park, Inc. received a national honor with a grant from the Kodak American Greenways Awards Program in Arlington, Virginia. Funding from Kodak will help develop trails leading to a grouping of ten WWII Ammunition Magazines nestled in the bottomland hardwood forest in Belle Chasse. In addition to the grant award, Woodlands Trail and Park will be showcased as a national model for its innovative efforts to unite the river communities of Orleans and Plaquemines Parish with a series of educational, recreational and historical greenways.

The Kodak American Greenways Awards, administered by the Conservation Fund, a recognized leader in working with local communities to expand the nation’s network of linked open spaces, providing grants to non-profit organizations and governmental agencies to help develop new action-oriented greenway projects.

Woodlands Trail and Park is one of only 47 groups awarded nationwide for their innovative local efforts to connect greenway corridors that help preserve a sense of place to a growing community. According to the Conservation Fund’s President, Larry Selzer, “The projects selected this year represent some of the best grassroots efforts of conservation and greenway development efforts in the United States. The Fund supports these local initiatives because they are thoughtful, action-oriented projects that will serve as models for other communities around the country.”


 August – September 2005

Woodlands Trail – America’s Wetland Birding Trail Damaged by Hurricane Katrina

katrina2trailOn August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina quickly brought unprecedented National recognition of the function and value of both Southeastern Louisiana’s bottomland hardwood forests and coastal wetlands.   We have done a preliminary assessment of the damage to the bottomland hardwood forested areas dedicated to the use of Woodlands Trail and Park and are in the process of applying for financial assistance to remove debris and re-establish and expand the trail system.  As the region moves forward in re-building our communities, we will be even more dependent on private and corporate support to implement our smart growth and quality of life efforts in the Greater New Orleans area.  Below are some pre- and post-Katrina images of Woodlands Trail – America’s Wetland Birding Trail.


July 2005

 ConocoPhillips Becomes First “Soaring Eagle” Sponsor for Woodlands Trail and Classic


On Thursday, June 16, 2005, ConocoPhillips Company became a “Soaring Eagle Sponsor” for the first Woodlands Trail Classic – 5K and Fun Run event to be held at Cypress Park on Saturday, December 31, 2005.  Following a check presentation to Woodlands Trail and Park, Inc., Betsy Brien, Public Affairs Specialist for ConocoPhillips displays the poster that will advertise the family event to be held in the fall.  The Woodlands Trail Classic will include a 1-mile fun run followed by a 5K race beginning and ending at Cypress Park near the location of the future entrance to Woodlands Trail and Park.  Following the event, participants will be treated to refreshments and live entertainment provided by “The Stargeezers”.   Register on-line  to participate in or become a Sponsor of the first Woodlands Trail Classic!


June 2005

A Bird’s Eye View of Woodlands Trail – America’s Wetland Birding Trail

On Saturday, June 04, 2005, residents from neighboring communities to as far away as Carencro, Louisiana were given an introduction to Woodlands Trail.   Interpretive hikes were guided by David Muth, Orleans Audubon Society and Richard DeMay, Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program.  Hikers were introduced to a variety of native vegetation as well as getting a close-up viewing of the behavior of young schools of catfish observed in the nearby swales.   David demonstrated his talent in calling in birds for hikers to get a close-up look  at migratory birds currently “fueling up” in this bottomland hardwood forest.  Thanks to Chevron Oronite Company, Freeport-McMoRan and Plaquemines Parish Government for their contributions to making Nationals Trails Day a success.   Woodlands received an unexpected surprise when the Wal-Mart Foundation arrived to present a contribution to the efforts in “Creating a Legacy” for future generations.


May 2005

Students Exposed to Native and Non-Native Species in their “Backyard, Outdoor Classroom”

3rdgradeStudents in Donna Mayard’s third grade class and Jan Rice’s first grade class at Belle Chasse Primary School were the first to view a recently developed Urban Forestry presentation on “Native and Non-native Species”. The presentation was partially funded through a grant from the USDA Forest Service Urban and Community Forestry Program in cooperation with the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry.  With partial funding from the Entergy Environmental Stewardship grant,Woodlands has developed a presentation to introduce students to Native and Non-native species they will see along Woodlands Trail.   With future funding, Woodlands hopes to expand this project into other schools.


April 2005

Old Algiers RiverFest


Woodlands Trail and Park participated in the Old Algiers Riverfest on April 17, 2005.   Residents of Jefferson, Orleans and Plaquemines Parish volunteered their services to assist in the Woodlands effort of “Creating a Legacy” for future generations.  A special thank you goes out to Print-All for their response to our “late in the day” request to provide us with a banner to make our presence easily recognizable to potential supporters.

National Safety council awards william keller bicycle and pedestrian safety award


On April 06, 2005, Katie Brasted, Founder and President of Woodlands Trail and Park, Inc. received the first William Keller Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Award at the 55th Annual Meeting & Awards Banquet of the National Safety Council, South Louisiana Chapter.  The Award for Outstanding Community Service was presented by Elvin Thibodeaux, Chairman.



March 2005

First oral history recorded


On March 03, 2005, Al Crawford became the first WWII Veteran to have his history recorded by Our Lady of Holy Cross student, Erik Tferffle.  Mr. Crawford told Erik and observing OLHCC students of his assignment at the Naval Ammunition Depot in In Belle Chasse, Louisiana.  Mr. Crawford also shared his first-hand account of his active combat in Sipan during World War II.