Friday, July 11, 2008

Ode to an Oak

If there is something about New Orleans that sticks in your memory, it is definitely Live Oaks. In fact, the icon for Newcomb College is the oak.

St. Charles Avenue, the boulevard that dissects Uptown, is lined with graceful oaks. Actually more impressive after dark, as they filter the light from the street-lamps and cast gorgeous shadows across the lanes.

Oaks can live 500 years and there are some in Audubon Park, which was once a cotton plantation, that are at least 300 years old. In Audubon Zoo, there's a sign, acknowledging their longevity, which predates both park and the plantation.

"Throughout the ancient world, trees were considered sacred. They were animate beings with souls or spirits much like our own."

William Guion

Below are the historic events witnessed by Audubon Park's mighty oaks:
  • 1776 - The American Revolution
  • 1803 - Louisiana Purchase
  • 1814-15 - Battle of New Orleans
  • 1837 - First recorded Mardi Gras Parade
  • 1861-65 - Confederate and later Union Armies camped here
  • 1884 - World's Industrial & Cotton Centennial Exposition
  • 1934 - Merz Memorial Zoo opened
  • 1972 - New Orleans voters approve funding for zoo expansion
  • 1984 - Nancy Reagan names National landscape award

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