Meet the Candidates

Cathedral Oak Courtesyof Bill Guion

Located at St. John Cathedral, 515 Cathedral St., Lafayette

The St. John Cathedral Oak is probably the most well-known live oak in the Lafayette area. It is the second vice president of the Live Oak Society and was one of the society's 43 original member trees.

Photo courtesy of William Guion

See this tree in Google Street View.

LSU Parade Grounds1

Located on LSU's Parade Grounds across from St. Alban's Episcopal Chapel

This live oak is also known as Gnarly. It was endowed in 1993 by the LSU Panhellenic Council. At 200 inches in diameter, The Sentinel is possibly the largest tree on the Parade Grounds, and could be up to 200 years old. It has a canopy that spreads more than 150 feet, with iconic low-sweeping branches making it an excellent climbing tree. It exhibits old wounds, but they appear to have mostly healed.

See this tree in Google Street View.

LSU Art Building Oak

On LSU campus outside the College of Art & Design

This live oak is one of the most visited and enjoyed single trees on campus. It has protective decking and plenty of seating to make it easily accessible and providing room for its shade to be enjoyed. College of Art & Design students fondly remember spending time under its branches between classes.

See this tree in Google Street View (before recent construction of the decking.)

SU Jag Oal Mumford Stadium

Located on Swan Avenue outside Mumford Stadium on Southern University campus

Also called The Jag Oak, this is the largest tree near the field house and stadium — it's a gathering place for fans and visitors for Southern football games and to watch The Human Jukebox. Judging by the tree's size, it likely pre-dates the stadium construction and has the appearance of a twisted trunk.

See this tree in Google Street View.

20th Century Oaks

University of Louisiana at Lafayette, 104 E. University Ave., Lafayette

On New Year’s Day 1901, Dr. Edwin Stephens, the first president of Southwestern Louisiana Institute (now the University of Louisiana at Lafayette), planted 18 young live oak trees near the campus entrance, at the intersection of Johnston Street and University Avenue. Ten of the oaks still grace the campus entry.

See this tree in Google Street View.

Evangeline Oak

Located on the edge of Bayou Teche at 122 Evangeline St., St Martinville

If Henry Wadsworth Longfellow were describing the Evangeline Oak, no doubt, he would have started with, "This is the forest primeval."

According to some sources, the tree now known as the Evangeline Oak is the third oak in the St. Martinville area that has been designated as the “oak under which the Cajun lovers Emmeline and Louis were reunited after their long separation when the Acadians were exiled from Canada.”

Emmeline and Louis are reported to be the real-life characters upon which Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s fictitious Evangeline and Gabriel were modeled.

See this tree in Google Street View.

LSU Jesse Coates Oak Oak Tiger Stadium

Located next to LSU's Tiger Stadium

Also called The Chemical Building Live Oak, this tree has been a meeting place for thousands of fans going in and out of Tiger Stadium. It is located directly outside a major entrance to the stadium, near where the famous airplane used to be and where parking and tailgating used to be allowed on the street, under this oak, for decades.

See this tree in Google Street View.

The Sitting Oak

Located in Downtown Baton Rouge, on Town Square 

Also called the Town Square Live Oak, this oak has shaded and served as a meeting point for untold numbers of area residents at festivals and concerts, parades, etc. It is nearly impossible to pass by this tree and not see someone enjoying its shade and protection.

See this tree in Google Street View.

Catlsland Cypress

Located in Cat Island National Wildlife Refuge near St. Francisville

This bald cypress is the stuff of legends. Its height exceeds 80 feet and it has a circumference of 54 feet, with a diameter of 17 feet. It is considered the largest bald cypress in the U.S. and is the sixth largest tree in the country. Notably, it is the largest tree of any species east of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

It is a National Champion Tree, a program American Forest hosts to designate the largest tree of a species in individual states and across the country.

The Cat Island Cypress is believed to be at least 1,200-1,500 years old, which means it began growing around the same time as the death of Charlemagne, the first Holy Roman Emperor of Europe. Cat Island is not actually an island, but the tree is not always accessible by vehicle or even on foot. Sometimes, a boat is required to reach it.

See Google Maps Cat Island Cypress Page.

Spanish Town Rd First Elm

The first Lacebark Elm on the iconic Spanish Town Road

Spanish Town Road is known for the line of Lacebark Elms that grace either side of the road. This species grows rapidly, which makes it ideal for swift gratification of large plantings. This particular tree has a distinctive curved form, reaching toward the State Capitol. Given the habits of Spanish Town, it may have witnessed interesting things in its young life.

See this tree in Google Street View.

SU Bluff Oak Wade House

Located on The Bluffs at The Donald Caryle Wade House, Southern University, Baton Rouge

With a 150-foot canopy spread and a 200-inch diameter at breast height (the standard measurement for tree size), it is possible that this tree is over 200 years old. Surely, generations have gathered under this live oak, which is in located in a place of pride, protected by a brick retaining wall. The Gathering Oak is unusually tall and upright for a single live oak. It is graced with Spanish moss and overlooks a spectacular view of the Mississippi River.

See this tree in Google Street View.

SU Mayberry Oak2

Located behind Mayberry Dining Hall overlooking Lake Kernan, Southern University, Baton Rouge

This live oak is found outside Southern University's primary dining hall and overlooking “The Lake” on campus. It's the perfect place for a picnic and a great example of how live oaks can thrive at odd angles on hillsides. It offers an ideal picnic spot, with a view of the lake and much of the campus. Its branches actually touch the water at times

Thinking Tree2

Located at Arsenal Park on Capitol Lake in downtown Baton Rouge

This is the largest bald cypress in Baton Rouge Green’s public tree inventory. Not only does it stand at a truly spectacular viewing place on Capitol Lake, it is also a rookery for birds. The tree clearly has been used as a thinking and resting place for passersby, maybe even lawmakers and the like? It's worth noting that The Thinking Tree has a special stone placed at its foot.

See this tree in Google Street View.

Thinking Tree

Located at Studio Park, 1670 Lobdell Ave., Baton Rouge

Named Okaasan, which is Japanese for "Mother", this grand live oak beautifully anchors a gathering of artsy shops and studios and has tasteful seating beneath it. This tree has been wonderfully protected and honored by Anne and Paul Connelly, the developers of Studio Park.

See this tree in Google Street View.

Okaasan Plaque