The Survivor Oak

“Louisiana’s landscape is filled with majestic oak trees like the 100 year old St. John Oak growing on the grounds of the St. John Cathedral in Lafayette, or the 1500 year old Seven Sisters Oak in Mandeville, and of course St. Martinsville’s famous “Evangeline Oak” named for the heroine of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s epic poem Evangeline.

All of them have stories some just haven’t been told yet. Like this one. The 150 year old majestic “Survivor Oak”, located just off Ambassador Caffery on South Bud Street near Interstate 10 its name and history as interesting as it looks.

As the story goes, a hurricane in the early 1900’s uprooted the tree and by all accounts it should have died.

Rebecca Landry a well-known and respected Acadiana traiteur or healer knows its unbelievable story of survival.

“It serves as an inspiration, it serves as a tree that felled in a hurricane and is stronger than ever. It survived even though it’s laying on its side. How often do we get knocked on our sides and somehow we get stronger and I think it’s wonderfully symbolic.”

Begnaud says it’s hard to pinpoint the day the hurricane nearly destroyed it.

“I remember the story of the day it fell. It’s still here. Here to serve those fortunate enough to know of its existence and power.

Paul Bosworth is a brain injury survivor. In 2007 he choked while eating at home alone, he fell and critically injured his head.  He suffered permanent brain damage.  Landry told him about the survivor oak.

“Do I come here? Yes absolutely!  I’m going to visit here just to become closer to God quite honestly.

Bosworth encourages all survivors of any traumatic event to come out and see the tree that was supposed to die.

“But it found a way to live and to me it was very powerful to realize that the energy that it still provides is almost a healing energy that’s shared across all different types of trauma.”

So Bosworth and Begnaud do their best to spread the word about this gem, a visiting composer called a tree with a golden energy…right here in our community.

For Begnaud, it’s personal, she joined members of Trees Acadiana, a non-profit organization dedicated to planting and conserving trees…in getting the tree officially registered on May 24, 2007 this after obtaining approval from property owners the Saul Sonnier family.

For Bosworth, it’s a spiritual experience. “God’s grace lives here in Acadiana. It’s just right around the corner and we can visit it, it’s in the symbol of a tree called “Survivor Oak.”

You can stop by and visit the survivor oak at any time.  For more information log onto http://www.treesacadiana.org

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