800 years old and stlll lookin’ good!


At approximately 800 years old the oldest tree in New Orleans City Park is the McDonogh Oak. Just think of all this tree has seen over time! 


You can find the McDonogh Oak in the Park’s Old Grove. The Old Grove is home to many of the Park’s oldest trees. The tree has wooden ‘crutches’ holding up the long old branches. There is also a plaque near the bottom of the tree trunk.  The Park’s Old Grove is the strip of land between City Park Avenue and Bayou Metairie. The Old Grove is higher-ground than much of the Park and surrounding neighborhood due to Bayou Metairie overflowing and receding so often over time (leaving behind sediment that has accumulated). The Old Grove did not sit in water during Hurricane Katrina. This is why so many of these particular trees survived the flooding from hurricane Katrina. 

In 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, the Park lost more than 2,000 trees on its 1300 acres. The 5,000th tree since Hurricane Katrina was planted in New Orleans City Park on December 5, 2012.


“The wonder is that we can see these trees and not wonder more.”  – Ralph Waldo Emerson

A little Tree History for you today…

Hello City Park friends!

I’m Linzey and I’ll be your guest blogger for the day.  I’ve worked at City Park for almost 6 years as the Grants Manager and if there’s one thing I’ve learned a lot about, it’s trees.  There are more than 20,000 trees at City Park and they range from the tiniest saplings planted last week to the immense live oaks standing tall for more than 800 years!


Throughout its 1,300 acres, the Park features a wonderful variety of trees: beautifully flowering crepe myrtles, palms and palmettos, water oaks, laurel oaks, willow oaks, magnolias with their gorgeous blooms, American elms, water locust, loblolly pine, tupelo, bald cypress, and hackberry trees beloved by the birds.  The list goes on and on!  The oldest and most famous trees at City Park are, of course, the amazing live oaks.  Draped with Spanish moss and lined with resurrection fern, the Park’s live oaks set a romantic and mysterious mood on the Park grounds.


The particular species of live oak that grows in City Park is Quercus virginiana, the southern live oak.  These magnificent trees provide a huge canopy of shade and shallow roots spreading to match the size of the canopy.  They thrive in sandy soils or clay, can withstand moderate floods and hurricanes, and are resistant to salt spray.  The wood is so heavy and strong, it was once used for ship building.

The Park’s oldest live oaks first sprouted around 1200 AD!  That’s the early 13th century when the Crusades sacked Constantinople and King John signed the Magna Carta.  It’s hard to imagine the passage of history since these tiny acorns developed into the towering trees of today.  So come and visit.  Pick a favorite tree.  Peer up into the canopy.  Experience the breath-taking beauty and the sense of wonder found among the spectacular trees of City Park.

-Linzey Powers

Grants Manager


“Fall”ing in love with the Park

“Fall”ing in love with the Park

My name is Geneva and I am your guest blogger today! I started working at the Park a month ago as the new Major Gifts and Planned Giving Officer but have spent much of my last 12 years, in the city, enjoying all the Park has to offer. I have been pleasantly surprised, over the last month, at all the things I don’t know about the Park or never slowed long enough to notice.

Traditionally I am one of those people who laments the fact that New Orleans only has one season…I like to call it GREEN. Spending every day in the Park has opened my eyes to a whole new world and I am very happy to say that, while there is still a LOT of green in the Park this time of year, there are also yellows, reds, oranges and browns of all shades. Throughout the day, as the light changes, the colors often take my breath away as I go about my daily work. 

Some of the trees to look for are Crape myrtles, Ginkgo, Japanese maples, and Cypress trees. They can be found throughout the Park, on the golf course and in the Botanical Garden. For a quick walk through Fall take a stroll through the Botanical Garden or walk the Roosevelt Mall.

The trees that do change color are each unique and quite fascinating. Ginkgo, also spelled gingko and also known as the maidenhair tree, is a unique species of tree with no close living relatives. The ginkgo is a living fossil, recognizably similar to fossils dating back 270 million years.

Here is a poem about Fall and its beautiful changing colors. I hope to see you wandering the Park soon, ‘Fall’ ing in love with it again!






A Crown of Autumn Leaves


For Mabon (fall equinox), Sept. 21

Our voices press

from us

and twine

around the year’s

fermenting wine

Yellow fall roars

Over the ground.

Loud, in the leafy sun that pours

Liquid through doors,

Yellow, the leaves twist down

as the winding

of the vine

pulls our curling


Glowing in wind and change,

The orange leaf tells

How one more season will alter and range,

Working the strange

Colors of clamor and bells

In the winding

of the vine

our voices press out

from us

to twine

When autumn gathers, the tree

That the leaves sang

Reddens dark slowly, then, suddenly free,

Turns like a key,

Opening air where they hang

and the winding

of the vine

makes our voices

turn and wind

with the year’s

fermented wine

One of the hanging leaves,

Deeply maroon,

Tightens its final hold, receives,

Finally weaves

Through, and is covered soon

in the winding

of the vine—

Holding past summer’s hold,

Open and strong,

One of the leaves in the crown is gold,

Set in the cold

Where the old seasons belong.

Here is my crown

Of winding vine,

Of leaves that dropped,

That fingers twined,

another crown

to yield and shine

with a year’s

fermented wine.


Geneva Longlois-Marney

Major Gifts and Planned Giving





Who decorates all the Christmas trees at CITO?

Who decorates all the Christmas trees each year at Celebration in the Oaks?


Each year area school, groups, and local non-profits decorate the trees in the Celebration in the Oaks Christmas Tree Decorating Contest.


Each year the Celebration in the Oaks staff votes on the best tree and the winner gets the contest fee waived the next year.


The trees are decorated with a variety of themes. We’re always excited to see so much creativity!


People can view all the trees during Celebration in the Oaks. The 2013-2014 season:
November 29th – January 4th
Closed: 12/24 and 12/31
Sunday – Thursday : 6 p.m. -10 p.m.
Friday & Saturday: 6 p.m. -11 p.m.

Interested in participating? Registration begins in March of each year. Email Julie at JLaCour@nocp.org in March for details.


Spanish Moss and Resurrection Fern at City Park


Spanish Moss and Resurrection Fern are often found growing on the oaks of New Orleans City Park. Both plants are epiphytic. Epiphytic plants absorb all nutrients from the air and do not harm the tree that supports them.

Spanish Moss and Resurrection Fern

Spanish Moss (Tillandsia usneoides), with silver gray threadlike stems, hangs in long graceful streams from the trees. It is a member of the Bromelaid family and produces a small yellow flower. It has long been associated with the beauty of the trees of the Deep South. Since the time of the early settlers, it has had numerous commercial uses. At one time it was used to stuff upholstery. Today, it is primarily used by nurseries and flower shops.

Spanish Moss and Resurrection Fern

Resurrection Fern (Polypodium polypodioides Watt) is found growing on the trucks and branches of the oaks. It gets its name ‘resurrection’ from the way the fern acts during weather patterns at the Park. If you visit the Park during a dry period, it will be brown and shriveled. It will appear to be dead. Following a rain, that same fern will be green and lush. It is Louisiana’s only epiphytic fern. It certainly adds a special grace to the oaks in the Park.

** If you find Spanish Moss or Resurrection Fern in the Park, please don’t remove it from its home. **

To learn more about the trees of City Park, click here.