Founded in 1972, the mission of the Saint Charles Avenue Association is to encourage the historic and residential character of Saint Charles Avenue. The Association currently protects and maintains the 1000 live oak trees, many dating back two or more centuries. These live oaks form an elegant canopy over The Avenue and its historic streetcar. The association currently boasts 600 members, from all parts of the city.
Following a 10 year campaign, the Saint Charles Avenue Association secured National Historic Landmark status for its iconic green streetcar. This honor recognizes sites of historic importance to the entire country. The U.S. Department of Interior selects such sites based on “high, not simply a good, level of historic integrity.” More than 11,000 New Orleans residents and tourists ride the streetcar each day. The Saint Charles Avenue streetcar line is the oldest, continuously operating streetcar in the world.
Raised more than $300,000 in private funds to replace 300 live oaks that had reached the end of their life span. This was the first time in more than 100 years that any group attempted such a project and took seven years to complete. SCAA maintains the live oaks as an on-going project. Spraying and fertilizing the trees is under the supervision of a local arborist and costs SCAA more than $20,000 annually.
After years of complaints from residents of the Avenue about broken, missing or burned-out streetlights, the association conducted an 18-month campaign to fix the streetlights. Thanks to the City of New Orleans Department of Public works, all streetlights on The Avenue were replaced in 2014 with LED lights that should last seven to ten years.
SCAA continues to be concerned about the care and maintenance of its neutral grounds, particularly below Napoleon Avenue. The association is exploring ways to introduce ground cover to improve the appearance of the neutral ground and to cut down on the dust generated during dry periods.