NEW ORLEANS-- At the Lyons Center Uptown, volunteers planted one tree, while marking a huge milestone: number 20,000 for the group 'Hike for KaTREEna,' formed after Hurricane Katrina destroyed 100,000 trees.
'We're committed to putting those 100,000 trees back,' said Hike for KaTREEna's Connie Uddo. 'So, to hit 20,000 trees, six years out from when our organization was birthed, is an amazing milestone for us.'
It happened on the 'Super Saturday of Service,' a volunteer effort bringing together non-profits, the city, the NFL and corporations in town for the Super Bowl.
'It's real important for us that when we have these opportunities to come down and do these types of things, we take the time to give back to the communities in the areas we are visiting,' said volunteer John Phillips of Pepsi Co.
The day is a first for the NFL Foundation and a Super Bowl host city-- and it is something Mayor Mitch Landrieu said was part of the city's Super Bowl bid.
'If they're going to come, we want to fold into every one of those projects, major service projects that are part of our rebuilding effort,' Mayor Landrieu said.
Among the major projects: work at five of the city's parks, all of which were damaged during Katrina. Through grants and donations, the Super Saturday of Service will leave behind $2 million worth of improvements. All of it came as a surprise to Tracy Harris, who didn't think the Super Bowl would touch her Gentilly park.
'I thought it was going to be basically centered to [Central] Business District, Canal Street,' she said, 'but I never thought it would have impacted the community the way that it has.'
There was one service project volunteers did not get to finish: Harrell Stadium in Gerttown. It will be getting the Super Bowl turf installed on its field, but not until after Sunday's game.