Last year, New Orleans police officers handed out 500 teddy bears to children they encountered while on duty, thanks to a partnership between the New Orleans Police and Justice Foundation and Arnaud’s Restaurant. This year’s drive to collect bears begins Thursday.

“It is amazing what can be accomplished when we all work for the common good,” Arnaud’s co-owner Archie Casbarian said. “We value our partnerships with the NOPJF and NOPD and look forward to unifying our efforts once again to better the community.”

People are encouraged to donate new stuffed bears and bring them to one of the following Teddy Bear Program collection sites:

Arnaud’s, 813 Bienville St., during dining hours

NOPJF headquarters, 400 Poydras St., Suite 2105, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays

The lobby of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau, 2020 St. Charles Ave., 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.

The goal is to collect 1,500 bears through Dec. 31 and to give them to children who have been traumatized by victimization or personal tragedy.

The men and women of the Police Department “look forward, once again, to the opportunity of helping these children and families cope with traumatic events by giving them a little something to hold onto during a time of crisis,” said Melanie Talia, NOPJF executive director.

For more information, visit

It’s tree time

Welcome to tree-planting season. Yep, I’m talking about the month of November, when cool, wet weather sets in and trees can establish roots during winter. Learn more about the season when Parkway Partners New Orleans presents “Native Trees and Shrubs” at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Parkway Greenhouse, 1137 Baronne St.

Rick Webb, of Louisiana Growers, will be on hand to offer helpful planting information. A selection of trees, shrubs, bedding plants, herbs and cool-season vegetables will be sold from 9 a.m. to noon.

Parkway Partners is a nonprofit organization that fosters a partnership between the people of New Orleans and their green spaces, including neutral grounds, community gardens, parks and schoolyards. Founded in 1982, the organization is not funded by the city.

Look for upcoming second-Saturday programs, including “Techniques for Creating a Healing and Restorative Garden Space” on Dec. 12, with Pamela Buckman, garden manager of the Besthoff Sculpture Garden, and Amy Lynn Nau, horticultural therapist and site gardener at Langston Hughes Academy.

Buckman and Nau will talk about the healing elements of nature with therapeutic gardening techniques for adults and children. Plants for sale during the December program will include poinsettias, Christmas cacti, citrus trees, cold-weather bedding plants and sensory-friendly plants.

Second-Saturday sales support Parkway Partners programs. For information, contact Jean Fahr at or visit www.parkwaypartners

Bugging out

Nibble on chocolate cricket cookies as Audubon Zoo entomologist Zach Lemann presents “New Orleans Backyard Bugs” at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Community Church Unitarian Universalist, 6690 Fleur de Lis Ave., Lakeview.

The Orleans Audubon Society program begins with a social at 6:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public. For information, call (504) 671-6371.

Girl Scouts Day

Girl Scouts and leaders are invited to tour Longue Vue House and Gardens, 7 Bamboo Road, while competing in a scavenger hunt from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 21. Advance registration is required, and the cost is $6 for leaders and $4 for children. For more information, contact Anna Bell Jones at (504) 293-4701 or

Lynne Jensen writes about New Orleans community events and people. Contact her at