Joe Guilbeau

I have always been a tree person. I have probably planted 100 trees . . . I should have planted more. One of my sons Donovan has probably inherited some of my genes. He is a licensed forester living in Jackson, Mississippi.

James Carville said, "The best time to plant an oak tree is 25 years ago, the next best time is today." Some trees I planted when I was young are now very large. Trees I plant now I will not live to have the enjoyment of their shade.

"Trees are the lungs of the world." A quotation attributed president Theodore Roosevelt. Baton Rouge could be called the "City of Trees." As you cross the Mississippi Bridge driving east, you see a few buildings in a long sea of green trees for as far as you can see.

A tree is the largest of all plants. The tallest trees grow higher than 30-story buildings. Many trees also live longer than other plants. Some trees live for thousands of years. They rank as the oldest known living things in the world.

People do not think of trees the way they think of other plants. Most of which grow only a short time and then die. People think of trees as permanent parts of the landscape. Year after year, large, old trees shade houses and streets from the sun.

Their buds and flowers are a sign of spring each year, and their colorful leaves brighten in autumn in many areas.

Many trees are prized for their flowers. The Crepe Myrtle grows into large trees. The Crepe Myrtle blossom is the most abundant flower in our city. A large group of beautiful red Crepe Myrtles can now be seen near the locks and surrounding Citizens Bank. Several bright red Crepe Myrtles are blooming right now across the street from my house.

The magnificent Oak tree next to the catholic church in Lafayette was planted before Columbus came to America. The magnificent giant Sequoias of California rank among the World's oldest and largest living things. Some of these trees are thousands of years old and over 200 feet tall.

There is no doubt that the oldest things on earth are in the methuselah grove on the high wind sweat slopes of the white mountains northeast of Bishop, Calif. which contains the oldest living things on earth, trees that were growing before Moses received the ten commandments.

Amazingly these trees still produce seed from which new trees can grow.

"A person without knowledge of this past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots" – Marcus Garvey