After a decade of hard work, especially by the St. Charles Avenue Association, it is time for everyone in New Orleans to celebrate. Association members and city leaders gathered on Dec. 9 at Lee Circle to officially announce that the St. Charles streetcar line has been designated a National Historic Landmark.

“It’s been a long process,” SCAA President Camille Strachan said. “We are thrilled and so appreciative for the really hard work of earlier presidents who kept this effort alive.”

Former SCAA presidents Wallace and Lyn Tomlinson worked on the designation effort while in office and afterward, Strachan said. She also thanked the Garden District Association, IberiaBank and many volunteers.

The historic landmark designation was finalized in September by the Department of the Interior. The streetcar line joins more than 2,500 sites that are recognized as places that possess “exceptional value and quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States.”

The St. Charles line dates back to 1835 and is touted as the oldest continually operating streetcar line in the country. It runs from the edge of the French Quarter along St. Charles and South Carrollton avenues to Claiborne Avenue at Palmer Park. Built by Perley A. Thomas Car Works Inc. in High Point, North Carolina, the green streetcars carry tourists and locals on a historic trek past stately homes and ancient oaks.

The iconic streetcars are maintained locally by people “who take enormous pride” in their work, Strachan said.

Tutors help children read

Start the Adventure in Reading, known as STAIR, is ready to offer adults a way to help children in the fast-approaching new year.

The 29-year-old local children’s literacy program is offering training sessions for volunteer tutors in January. One two-hour training session is required; no experience is necessary. Tutors meet with their students after regular school hours or on Saturday mornings at STAIR-operated sites in Orleans, Jefferson, Plaquemines and St. Tammany parishes.

The 2015 tutor training schedule is:

1:30 p.m. Jan. 8 at Algiers United Methodist Church, 637 Opelousas Ave.

9:30 a.m. Jan. 10 and 1:30 p.m. Jan. 14 at STAIR headquarters at St. Charles Avenue Presbyterian Church, 1535 State St.

1:30 p.m. Jan. 13 at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, 6500 Jefferson Highway

1:30 p.m. Jan. 20 at St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church, 3412 Haring Road.

To register for training, contact the STAIR office at (504) 899-0820 or email elizabeth@stairnola.org. For information, visit www.stairnola.org.

Food drive a success

A food drive ending Thanksgiving Day at the Fair Grounds Race Course and its satellite locations brought in canned goods and nonperishable food items for Second Harvest Food Bank.

“Our employees, fans and racing community answered the call in collecting 1,957 pounds of food for donation,” said Fair Grounds track President Tim Bryant, who also presented Second Harvest with a check for $1,000 to aid its efforts.

For information about Second Harvest Food Bank, visit www.no-hunger.org.

Lynne Jensen writes about New Orleans community events and people. Contact her at jensencolumn@gmail.com.