Building a sustainable community: Keep St. John Beautiful hosts free tree raffle

Published 9:17 am Saturday, February 1, 2020

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LAPLACE — Changing people’s behavior toward the environment can create an alluring community, and secretary Ivy Mathieu of Keep St. John Beautiful said planting trees is a great first step.

Keep St. John Beautiful is raffling off a limited number of fruit and shade trees in a free raffle to help beautify the community in a small way. There will be one grand prize shade tree awarded with a few extra items to help plant the tree, such as a shovel and gloves.

Chairman Greg “Za” Maurin said lucky winners of the fruit trees will be able to choose between orange, satsuma and lemon trees. The trees will be about an inch in diameter and less than 10 feet tall, ensuring easy transportation.

The raffle will open Feb. 3 and close at 8 p.m. Feb. 12.

St. John Andouille Queen Heather Roussel will draw for winners Feb. 14 at the Thomas F. Daley Memorial Park in LaPlace, and arrangements will be made at that time for Keep St. John Beautiful coordinators to deliver the trees free of charge.

To enter the raffle, submit a name or telephone number to Entries can also be submitted to boxes at the LaPlace, Reserve, Garyville and Edgard libraries. One raffle entry is permitted per person, and you must be school age or older to participate.

Maurin said Keep St. John Beautiful is working with André Brock of the LSU AgCenter to provide educational resources on planting and caring for the trees.

The free raffle has a two-fold purpose, according to Mathieu.

“It’s a way to say thank you to the citizens of St. John for always supporting our cleanup efforts in the fall and the spring,” she said. “The other part is trying to inspire people to do beautification projects and plant trees. It cleans the air and keeps our community looking beautiful.”

There are several Keep St. John Beautiful initiatives on the horizon, Mathieu said. During Mardi Gras week, Rotary Club members from New Zealand will arrive in the River Parishes to plant trees around the community.

It’s time to start saving electronics for Household Hazardous Materials Collection Day on April 18. Held annually in the New Wine Christian Center parking lot, the event collects tires, oil-based paint, used electronics, automotive batteries and other materials for safe recycling and disposal. For more information, visit

The annual Keep St. John Beautiful Spring Clean Sweep is tentatively scheduled for April 25, coinciding with the week of Earth Day.

Mathieu encourages schools, government agencies, businesses and other organizations to make a local impact in Keep Louisiana Beautiful’s Love the Boot Week from April 20 to April 26. Each day of the statewide campaign brings a new way to share examples of sustainable living.

Suggestions for honoring Make a Difference Monday, Take-in Tuesday, Clean Water Wednesday, Thrifty Thursday, Straw-free Friday, Storm Drain Saturday and Sustainable Sunday are available at

Photos and videos can be shared throughout the week with the hash tag #LovetheBoot.

“We only have one home. It’s the planet Earth,” Mathieu said. “As an individual, I’m trying to do my small part in making sure our planet is clean and beautiful and that our practices are sustainable so future generations can enjoy the beauty of Louisiana and our community.”