St. Charles Herald-Guide

Hahnville oak tree inducted into national Live Oak Society

By Heather R. Breaux - August 8, 2007

Just spotting the Keller Plantation Oak from River Road in Hahnville is a sight, but standing beneath its massive canopy is an even better spectacle. And Hilda Keller Trege of Hahnville agrees - that’s why she nominated the Live Oak for membership in the Live Oak Society.

“The tree is approximately 144 years old and its outmost branches span 60 feet from one another,” Trege told the Herald-Guide.

“It truly is a magnificent sight and a beautiful tree,” she continued.

“It is named the Keller Plantation Oak in honor of the plantation that, at one time, called this area home,” said Trege.

For many of you a tree is just a tree, but to Dr. Edwin Lewis Stephens, the organization’s founder, Live Oaks deserve proper recognition and their own special place in history, hence the 1934 birth of the Live Oak Society.

Stephens was the first president of Southwestern Louisiana Institute, now the University of Louisiana in Lafayette, and created the society to promote the culture and preservation of the Live Oak tree.

But one of the more interesting facts about the society is that all its members are trees and these wooded oaks also hold positions like president and vice president.

In fact, The first-ever president hails from St. Charles Parish. The Locke Breaux Oak in Taft who lost its life in 1968 due to air and ground water pollution held the prestigious position.

The Live Oak Society began with 45 members chosen by Stephens and now boasts 5666 members in 14 states and does allow one human affiliate.

“The by-laws of the society allow a chairman who is responsible for registering and recording its members to hold membership,” says Coleen Perilloux Landry, the society’s chairman.

“To become a member, a Live Oak must have a girth (waistline) of eight feet or greater,” said Landry.

“Those that measure over 16 feet are classified as centenarians,” she concluded.

For further information or to register an oak, contact the chairman, Coleen Perilloux Landry at 504-887-1800, by e-mail at CPL70600@aol.com, or 3609 Purdue Drive, Metairie, LA 70003. Visit the society’s Web site at http://www.louisianagardenclubs.org/pages/oak.htm.

Hahnville oak tree inducted into national Live Oak Society
Photo provided by Hilda Keller Trege