“I never before knew the full value of trees. Under them I breakfast, dine, write and receive my company.” —Thomas Jefferson
He never lived in Louisiana but the words above suggest that Jefferson had great appreciation for the comfort that trees bring to our lives everywhere. Many of my earliest memories of the deep south are clothed in the grandeur of sweeping oaks gnarled with age and hung with Spanish moss. I doubt it would be far off to imagine that most of the people living in Baton Rouge have similar feelings for the trees they have grown up with, or come to love in their time here. Seeing the city for the first time, a visitor would never guess that twenty percent of the tree canopy was lost when Hurricane Gustav hit the city on September 1, 2008.
The most familiar trees are the majestic oaks and cypress that grow so well in the climate of south Louisiana. Who hasn’t seen a photograph of a plantation drive lined with overhanging oak trees? A variety of oaks are found in and around Baton Rouge, including live oak, southern red oak, cherry bark oak, and shumard oak, along with southern magnolias, yellow poplar and bald cypress.
Some of the photos taken over the past three weeks are below. I’ve made no attempt to attach names or exact locations. All were taken within the city proper.