Jazz Fest Visitors Can Help Restore Coastal Louisiana

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Photo courtesy of the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana

NEW ORLEANS — From the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana:

People visiting New Orleans for the Jazz & Heritage festival are encouraged to join a volunteer project May 3 and 4 as part of the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana’s Louisiana’s Oyster Shell Recycling Program. The volunteer opportunities will take place between Jazz Fest weekends and provide a way for visitors to be a part of the movement to save the state that has lost more than 2,000 square miles of coastal wetlands in less than a century.

The volunteers will meet in Violet, an easy drive from New Orleans, at CRCL’s shell pile and educational site. There, they will use tools to place oyster shell into marine-grade mesh bags that will eventually be placed into the waters of coastal Louisiana to construct an oyster reef. CRCL, the first statewide nonprofit dedicated to confronting coastal land loss, has recycled more than 10 million pounds of oyster shell since 2014 and used it to build four reefs. The shell, which provides habitat for new oysters to grow and also helps minimize coastal erosion and storm surge, would otherwise have ended up in landfills.

“Jazz Fest is one of the signature events for visitors who love Louisiana, and we hope to see large numbers of them helping us save as much of our state as possible,” said James Karst, CRCL’s director of communications and marketing. “Volunteers will get to see a different part of southeast Louisiana and actually help us solve our coastal land loss crisis.”

The shell will be used this fall to build CRCL’s fifth reef, this one in partnership with the Pointe-au-Chien Indian tribe to protect a historic cultural site in southeast Louisiana.

Oyster reefs built by CRCL have slowed shoreline erosion by up to 50 percent in south Louisiana. More than a dozen New Orleans restaurants participate in the program; there are also two sites in the city where residents can drop off their own shell for recycling. The program is supported by businesses and organizations including Henderson Hutter, Shell, Chef’s Brigade, TC Energy Foundation, Stolthaven Terminals, Phillips 66 and EMR Metal Recycling. Other sponsors are Meraux Foundation and Two C’s. Lowlander Center is also a supporter.

Lunch, snacks, drinks, sunscreen and all necessary equipment for the shell recycling project are provided by CRCL. Registration and more information are on CRCL’s events webpage.

To learn more about the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, visit the organization’s website.

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