Land, water, plants, and animals: the "heritage" part of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival isn't only focused on human-created culture in 2023. Jazz Fest coordinator Laura Renee Westbrook took the long view and invited area native plant advocates to provide native plants and remind fest-goers that without its natural environment, the unique culture of Louisiana wouldn't have the flair and flavor loved by so many. "The Louisiana's Natural Heritage tent and Peace Garden at Jazz Fest feature artists, conservationists, mentors, and stewards of all ages who work to preserve our lands and waters and help their cultural and natural communities survive and thrive," Westbrook said.
"The exhibit at Jazz Fest will include dozens of native Louisiana trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants designed to highlight the beauty of our native plants and emphasize the critical wildlife benefits and ecosystem services they provide," said Tammany Baumgarten, president of the Native Plant Initiative of Greater New Orleans and of the Louisiana Native Plant Society. "Native plants protect our coastline, clean our air, feed the pollinators whose work feeds us, and provide homes and food for birds, butterflies, and animals who give us joy."
"The exhibit will also provide a veritable verdant oasis on the festival grounds," said horticulturist Lilith Dorsey, who is working with Westbrook and Baumgarten to create the exhibit. "It'll be the ideal spot for people to immerse themselves in the natural world for a while and remember that at its heart, Louisiana's rich cultural heritage of music, food, literature, and art grows straight from the earth and its sublime bounty."