Monday, April 21, 2014

Historic Oak on Loyola Campus Given New Life, 2014

Above:  This historic Live Oak tree was scheduled for removal, but thanks to a co-operative effort with Albany Woodworks, Loyola University is making sure it's legacy will live on for years to come.  Photo courtesy of

In an on-going project to preserve the history of a Live Oak tree said to be as old as the Uptown New Orleans Campus.  It's removal raised some eyebrows, but it is a rule of thumb that space is limited.  With a new building project underway, the massive oak near Monroe Hall was removed.

The tree is one of many up and down St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans, including a last stand of ancient Live Oak trees across the street in Audubon Park, known for it's Spanish Moss-lined giants.

Above: The Live Oak tree-lined view from Audubon Park.

But that is not where the story ends.  Albany Woodworks and Loyola University are working together to have a symbol of the great old tree on campus.  Once the tree was sized into manageable pieces, it was brought to the Albany Woodworks facility across the lake in Albany, Louisiana.

Cut into planks and stacked on sticks, Albany Woodworks CEO Richard Woods found that natural air drying would be the best step in preserving this well-aged wood stock.  In business for over 39 years, Albany Woodworks is known as the Antique Lumber specialists for a reason. 

Above: This step of  slow-drying the plank lumber is essential in adding durability to the finished product and reduces any chance of cracking or peeling in the process.

After pioneering the use of antique lumber, reclaimed from demo'd buildings, CEO Richard Woods has mastered the art of bringing out an old piece of lumber's inner beauty.  Needless to say, this collaborative effort on the parts of both Loyola University and Albany Woodworks show that trees are of historic significance and part of our city's history.

Above: After air-drying for a few weeks, a gentle sanding makes visible the natural beauty and character that only age can acheive.

The Live Oak tree-lined streets of Uptown New Orleans are a beautiful example of how lush city life can be in the south.  More information to come on this project, check back soon for updates!