Zeta destroyed some City Park oaks, but spared the centuries-old giants

Hurricane tossed about Celebration in the Oaks displays
Updated: Oct. 29, 2020 at 7:08 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) -Zeta was a Grinch.

The hurricane mowed down some of New Orleans City Park’s displays for Celebration in the Oaks, including the popular Pirate Ship.

“I was like, oh no, this can’t be true,” said Steve Birney, a park staff member who rebuilt the ship a few years ago.

While the category two winds turned the ship into a tangled mess, Birney is confident it can be rebuilt.

“There isn’t anything here that we haven’t fixed at least once,” Birney said. “So, we’re going to give our best effort and we’ll get her up and sailing again.”

The storm also claimed a bit of history along Roosevelt Mall, toppling several large oak trees.

“Give hundred mile an hour winds, it’s probably what should be expected,” said park CEO Bob Becker.

Some of the trees date back to President Franklin Roosevelt’s 1937 trip to the park, planted there to mark the opening of the park’s Roosevelt Mall.

On a happier note, the grove of giant oaks along City Park Avenue survived.

“Some of them are hundreds of years old,” Becker said. “They were here before the Native Americans were here and before them. So, they’re a real treasure.”

The trees got a trim around the edges, as the storm scattered several small limbs, but appear mostly unscathed.

Becker said it is possible the storm stressed the larger trees, but park managers will only know when they survive another wind sometime in the future.

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