Meet Le Beau Chene des Rabalais, which means “ The beautiful oak of the Rabalaises”.
This live oak tree is between 80-90 years old. That means that it sprouted from an acorn sometime between 1925 and 1935! This gorgeous oak tree sits at the front of our building property on Rue Louis XIV, on what (we were told) was the old Dugas farm. If you ride by our building at night, you will see our tree lighted, showing off its wide limb spread, and slightly twisted trunk.
Knowing its age, we thought about just some of the things that happened in Lafayette between 1925/1935 and now. Hurricanes. Folks here in South Louisiana are well aware of these powerful storms. In our research, we found out that hurricanes were not officially named until the 1940s; until that time, they were given a number. Our tree felt the effects of 8 hurricanes: Hurricane Five (1948), Hilda (1964), Betsy (1965), Carmen (1974), Audrey (1957), Andrew (1992), Katrina (2005), and Isaac (2012).
After purchasing the property to build our office building on Rue Louis, we decided to go through the process of registering our tree with the Live Oak Society in March of 2009. With this registration our tree is protected so that it can grow for many more years. These live oaks can live for hundreds of years. I hope that future generations take care of this tree and admire it as much as our family does.
I feel good about saving this tree. Live oaks are a part of life in Acadiana. Trees are not only important to our environment but they also help to tell a story of our history.