St. Joseph Abbey, Near Covington, LA
While traveling to Mandeville from Ponchatoula, Cyndi and I stopped in at the St. Joseph Abbey in St. Benenedict, LA., just west of Covington. The abbey grounds are home to four Live Oak Society member trees. The largest, the Abbot Paul Schaueble Oak (also called the Abbey Oak), has a beautiful spread and a girth of approximately 22 feet 10 inches. The tree is named after the Benedictine monk who was the first head of the monastery established in 1889 by a small group of monks from St. Meinrad Abbey in Indiana.
You’ll see in my photos, that several limbs of the 60 foot-tall tree are supported by metal pole braces. According to the abbey historian, the tree was damaged by a wind storm (and possibly a tornado) that swept through the area in November of 1957. The winds damaged the mid-section of the oak causing a severe split. But instead of cutting the tree down, the Abbey chose to secure the split with heavy bolts and limb supports. So far, the tree appears to have stabilized.
Note: The abbey was hit hard by heavy rain, winds, and flooding the week before our visit. It was spring, and the old oak was shedding leaves to begin new spring growth and flowers. That’s why the oak has so few leaves in the photos above.