One of the casualties of Hurricane Katrina was the loss of over 100,000 trees including most of the City of New Orleans beautiful magnolias and majestic live oaks.
Monique Pilie, a former New Orleans Job Corps Center employee, felt a need to do something about this and so she took matters into her own hands. She became a one woman dynamo. With plans already in place to hike the Appalachian Trail, she decided to use this venture as a fund-raising tool for replacing the storm shattered town’s lost trees.
Monique formed the non-profit Hike for KaTREEna to highlight her cause. On the organization’s website, she asked concerned citizens to buy a tree for each mile she hiked of the 2,175 Appalachian Trail. She finished her Georgia to Main hike on October 7, 2006 having raised thousands of dollars for her cause.
On Thursday, April 22, 2010, Monique will plant a seven foot Red Maple on the New Orleans Job Corps Center campus to commemorate Earth Day in a special ceremony- the keystone event of the center’s Earth Day Every Day week activities.
“Next to the scenery, the most amazing thing about the trip (Appalachian Trail) was the concern and love people had for New Orleans, they wanted information and they told me about their concerns,” Monique told The Times-Picayune in 2006 following her triumphant journey.
“It was so gratifying to know other Americans really cared about us, really loved the city. They alone made the experience worthwhile and it was something I really didn’t really expect when I thought about doing this.”
New Orleans Job Corps is near and dear to Monique’s heart and she is enthused about the opportunity to play a major role in sharing with the trainees her expertise in how they may implement energy saving techniques into their everyday lives while lessening their impact on the environment. Monique Pilie says of her ongoing quest to replace trees destroyed by Katrina, “It’s empowering, very empowering and very humbling.” Monique will take another step forward in her mission when she plants that Red Maple next week at New Orleans Job Corps Center.