Rain Barrels, Light Bulbs, and Gardens

We’re an Eco-Tour company for a reason: we love our bayous, our gators, our snapping turtles, and we believe we have an obligation to help protect Louisiana’s wildlife. And we’re not the only ones doing our part.

Green Light New Orleans is a local non-profit committed to bringing New Orleans residents together to build a more sustainable, environmentally conscious community. Naturally, we jumped at the opportunity to visit their little oasis tucked away on Jeannette Street and find out how we can do more.

They do more than light bulbs.

Green Light New Orleans got their start (and their name) by helping people change their incandescent light bulbs to more energy-efficient bulbs. They do this through a dedicated team of volunteers who visit homes and small businesses in and around New Orleans to change out their bulbs for free. It’s a win-win, since that means residents and businesses save money, conserve energy, and ultimately becomes part of a much larger effort to preserve valuable resources. But Green Light’s story goes far beyond light bulbs.

Green Light is piloting a new rain barrel program, where local volunteer artists paint the rain barrels, and Green Light installs them, helping households reduce their water usage and manage storm water (of which, Louisiana residents will tell you, there is plenty). These hand-painted works of art are not only functional, but beautifully capture the vibrant spirit of New Orleans.

Green Light also operates an Edible Teaching Garden right here in New Orleans, and a section of the garden is accessible to passersby and local residents to harvest fresh produce. They also built a Backyard Vegetable Garden program, which allows the Green Light team to construct gardens for local residents – an endeavor that helps our neighbors save money, provides continued access to healthy food options, and increases green space in the community.

Read More in Green Light’s Blog

And in their spare time, they signed up over 4,000 residents for the city’s recycling program, an endeavor that continues to reduce waste year after year.

How we’ll work together.

We’re always looking for ways to improve. Green Light has helped us discover ways to “green up” our tour operations: we’re on the waiting list for a rain barrel to help us conserve water and raise awareness for the thousands of tourists who walk through our doors. We’re looking into building a rain garden, which would absorb rainwater runoff, divert pollutants, and provide a beautiful landscaping opportunity for our tour sites. A rain garden would also serve as an additional opportunity to engage our guests and spread the word about rainwater management. And of course, we’re on the hunt for any lingering incandescent bulbs that could be eating up our energy.

We’re looking forward to seeing where this partnership takes us as we continue to grow, in a sustainable way. By doing so, we hope to set a standard for other for-profit businesses and hospitality companies, demonstrating the importance of growing responsibly, in partnership with other local organizations who are doing good in the city.

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And by the way, we fully encourage anyone who’s interested to take a trip out to Green Light’s office, which is surrounded by beautiful, lush foliage, and sports one of the most serene balconies we’ve ever visited.

Learn more about Green Light’s impact and all the good work they’re doing on their website — and hopefully you’ll see one of their rain barrels in action at our tour sites soon!