Oaks Felled by Katrina Get New Life at Sea Many of the downed live oaks left by Katrina are now safely in storage at the Mystic Seaport in Connecticut. The wood is invaluable for ship restoration, and the whaler Charles W. Morgan, built in 1841, will be the immediate beneficiary.
NPR logo

Oaks Felled by Katrina Get New Life at Sea

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/5556011/5556185" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Oaks Felled by Katrina Get New Life at Sea

Oaks Felled by Katrina Get New Life at Sea

Oaks Felled by Katrina Get New Life at Sea

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/5556011/5556185" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Live oak is dense and resistant to rot and insects. The wood is not good for much -- but it's great for shipbuilding. Noah Adams, NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Noah Adams, NPR

Live oak is dense and resistant to rot and insects. The wood is not good for much -- but it's great for shipbuilding.

Noah Adams, NPR

Celebrating the Morgan

The Mystic Seaport holds an event honoring the ship and its descendants, July 15.

Sandra Lobrano had named this tree Bienvillle, after one of the explorers of the Gulf Coast. It was perhaps 400 years old. Noah Adams, NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Noah Adams, NPR

Sandra Lobrano had named this tree Bienvillle, after one of the explorers of the Gulf Coast. It was perhaps 400 years old.

Noah Adams, NPR

Hurricane Katrina produced many downed live oak trees, but those losses have become a gain for Connecticut's Mystic Seaport.

Live oak wood is invaluable for ship restoration. A whaling vessel built in 1841, the Charles W. Morgan, will be an immediate beneficiary.

For many decades now, the Morgan has been among the dockside exhibits at Mystic. The museum intends to rebuild the ship, and will take her out of the water next year to get started.

Some of the wood came from the yard of Chuck Lobrano and his wife, Sandra. When Lobrano's biggest tree went down in the storm, the doctor in Long Beach, Miss., offered it to Mystic.

Lobrano had once toured the USS Constitution in Boston -- the 1798 frigate known as "Old Ironsides" -- and knew live oak was once favored for shipbuilding.

Mystic Seaport trucked more than 200 tons of wood from the Mississippi coast to Connecticut. The supply was a big help for the Morgan, and for smaller shipyards as well. The Lobrano family finds satisfaction in that, and in the warmth left behind -- they kept some of the tree's wood for making fires.