A “suspicious object” incident in Metairie today has turned out to be a false alarm.
Botanists from the Audubon Institute today confirmed a real live plant was found growing in the lobby of a Metairie office building near Veterans and Causeway.
Authorities first were notified when a newly hired maintenance worker at the building called the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office to report finding a suspicious object.
“We received a tip that there was an unusual item found in the lobby of office building,” said Sheriff Joe Lopinto said. “Officers responded to it immediately and were able to surround and seal off the building, make entry into it, and neutralize the threat.
Police say the suspicious object turned out to be a real, live tree after specialists were brought in to investigate.
“It’s the first non-plastic plant I’ve ever seen in an office lobby in Jefferson Parish,” said Walter Durant, chief researcher for the Audubon Institute.
Durant said it didn’t take long to figure out that the plant, a 6-foot tall Ficus tree, was actually alive.
“I called in several colleagues just to be sure, as we figured no one was going to believe this. It’s unrealistically realistically real!”
According to Durant, the original blueprints of the building show that the use of a real tree was mostly an accident. The building’s architect was from out-of-town, hailing all the way from the Lower Garden District, and wasn’t familiar with local customs and norms.
“The tree almost died because the building’s new maintenance staff never before had to water a plant inside of a building. They had no idea such a thing was even possible — like something someone reads online and then tells you but it doesn’t seem quite right. But once we showed them the tree wasn’t a threat they got the hang of it and the tree was fine. Today, it is doing very well.”
The exact location of the is being kept a secret to protect the tree from souvenir hunters, vandals, and irate Walmart plastic tree sales staff.