Beulah Oswald-Soto and Coleen Perilloux Landry share many interests, especially their love of nature and the environment.

Oswald-Soto is the executive director of Jefferson Beautification Inc., and Landry is the chairwoman of the Live Oak Society who also serves on the boards of New Orleans City Park and Lafreniere Park. Both are also members of several civic, community and garden groups.

Both say the free Earth Day celebration this weekend in Metairie is important.

“In the metro New Orleans area, there are many environmental issues that Earth Day participants might address,” Landry said. “Water and air pollution from the numerous chemical and oil refineries lead the way.

"The constant carbon buildup from the millions of automobiles traveling our highways every day is another concern. Constant litter, especially plastics that find their way into our streams and rivers, is a great concern.”

“Earth Day is an effective way of raising awareness of the importance of each of us becoming stewards of our environment,” Oswald-Soto added. “There is very little remaining public green space in East Jefferson, and the parish landfills are at near capacity.

"So events like these are important because the more people know, the more likely they are to recycle, be energy efficient, conserve water and help to maintain the tree canopy in our neighborhoods.”

Jefferson Parish’s Earth Day event is set for 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday at the Al Copeland Concert Meadow in Lafreniere Park, 3000 Downs Blvd., Metairie.

Information will be available on stormwater management and water-wastewater pre-treatment practices, recycling and composting, and there will be healthy cooking demonstrations.

The Blood Center of New Orleans also will hold a blood drive for firefighter Dan Ziegler, who was injured earlier this year while battling a fire in Metairie. And Second Harvest Food Bank will collect canned food donations.

There will also be live music, food, arts and crafts, and interactive displays.

“The most important thing that we as individuals can do for the environment is to recycle waste products, and plant and conserve trees,” Oswald-Soto said. “Trees help to combat climate change caused by carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. And trees absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen into the air.”

“Each day we can help by walking instead of driving, get involved in groups that fight pollution, recycle within our communities and especially try to avoid using plastic materials as much as possible,” Landry added.

“I hope the event will greatly affect and educate everyone on the importance of keeping our planet environmentally safe. Children, especially, must learn that this is their world and their future is being affected.”

Exhibitors include the Citizen’s Climate Lobby, the Department of Coastal Management, the Department of Floodplain Management, Jefferson Beautification Inc., Crescent City Farmer’s Market, the Green Project, Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, Mosquito Control Services, National Park Service, Sierra Club, SOUL New Orleans, Sunrise Movement, 350 New Orleans and YLC Recycles.

St. Pat winners

The St. Patrick Parade Committee has announced the winners from the St. Patrick’s Parade in Metairie held on March 17.

Float Division: First place was the Bayou Tramps #1; second place, the Krewe of Centurions; and third place, the Sicilian Saints. 

Truck Division: First place was D.S.M.C.C.I.; second place, the Wanna Be Irish; and third place, the Irish Fools.

Marching Club Division: First place was Ain’t Misbehavin; second place, the Celtic Highlanders; and third place, the Zeus Walkers. 

Eva Jacob Barkoff writes about the people and events in Jefferson Parish. She can be reached at