LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - Live oak trees have long been appreciated for their beauty and strength. For many, they represent the character of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. And now a post-Katrina planting project, aims to ensure an abundance of live oaks for future generations to enjoy.
They gathered at the Long Beach town green, for a long term investment in the city's future. Live oak saplings will be planted in this spot.
"As y'all know, after some of the recent storms, we certainly had some problems with the oaks not being here anymore. And so this project is all about replanting those, having more of those on the coast," said Keith Williams with Hancock Bank.
The young trees come from hardy stock; grown from acorns harvested from the iconic Friendship Oak at the USM campus in Long Beach.
"In recent decades, she survived a lot of the major storms that we've all learned about, from Camille to Katrina. She's standing tall and strong today, as you can see," said USM Gulf Park's Dr. Steve Miller.
Conceived in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Hancock Bank's perseverance oaks planting project is aimed at the future.
"We'll plant a lot of 'em. And most of them will survive. And some of them will be very dynamic examples of a Southern Live Oak. And those we'll put in the ground, and as you grow, so will the oaks," said Hancock Bank Executive John Hairston.
The bank and community leaders say while they may never be able to enjoy the shade of these oak trees planted today, the children will. And that's what it's all about. The long term future. The next generation.
"It's just like what we look forward to the young people, what they'll do. Their growth, their maturity. And what they bring to the table as they grow up and become adults and citizens," said Mayor Billy Skellie.
In days to come, live oaks will also be planted at other locations along the coast, including a planting event Wednesday morning, at Jones Park in Gulfport.