Leaders Celebrate New EV Charging Stations at Audubon Zoo

NEW ORLEANS — On Feb. 6, New Orleans business leaders and elected officials competed with the sounds of songbirds and helicopters as they gathered for a sunny outdoor press conference to celebrate the installation of four electric vehicle charging stations in the parking lot of the Audubon Zoo. Audubon Institute CEO Ron Forman was joined at the pavement podium by New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell, Entergy New Orleans President and CEO Deanna Rodriguez and City Councilmembers Eugene Green and Oliver Thomas.

“Listen to those birds. Look at this beautiful sky. This is why we need to be very deliberate in our attempts to lower our carbon footprint,” Green told the crowd. “We want our great grandchildren to come to the Audubon Zoo on a beautiful day like this and be able to hear birds and be able to see the sunshine. This is about the future of our city, the future of our nation and the future of this world.”

The new charging stations, which will be free to use, were installed and paid for by a partnership between Audubon, Entergy and the City. The group is halfway to its goal of placing 30 stations at 25 locations across New Orleans — mostly located at NORD facilities, libraries and public parks. Entergy has committed $500,000 to the cause.

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The locations were identified in 2021 after program leaders conducted a public survey and the City’s Electric Vehicle Steering Committee evaluated the potential sites. In 2018, the City Council approved a partnership between the City and Entergy.

The tone at the press conference was optimistic.

“By 2050, our city will be carbon neutral and we’re taking it seriously that we get rid of greenhouse gas emissions as best as possible,” said Cantrell. “We’re also promoting renewable energy and programs like converting the former Gordon Plaza into a solar farm.”

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The Mayor said the goal is that, by 2035, 40% of the vehicles on the city’s streets will be powered by electricity. Forman, for his part, gave the Mayor props for a rare bit of good news about the city’s streets themselves.

I gotta give a shout out,” he said. “Magazine Street road work was completed last week ahead of schedule and within the budget. It’s beautifully done and we’re excited about adding landscaping to the neutral ground. Good things are happening in our city.”

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