Angel trees in the Bay stand as a monument to Hurricane Katrina

Angel trees in the Bay stand as a monument to Hurricane Katrina

BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - If you explore the historic district of Bay St. Louis, chances are you'll find the four angel trees placed around the city.

A chainsaw artist from Indiana arrived in the Bay after Hurricane Katrina destroyed trees and he transformed them into inspirational sculptures.

Chainsaw artist Dayle Lewis came to Bay St. Louis right after Katrina and turned battered trees into angels of mercy and symbols of recovery. Four of his angel trees can be found scattered around Old Town Bay St. Louis.

Two are in Cedar Rest Cemetery, one sits out in front of Our Lady of the Gulf Catholic Church, and the fourth stands at the foot of Demontluzin Street at Beach Boulevard.

Lewis brought the dead, storm-ravaged trees back to life and the works of art, which include coastal wildlife like pelicans, are part of the historical tour people can take through Bay St. Louis. Donna Oakley is a tour guide who shares the stories behind the sculptures.

"On the tree in front of the church the one in the front is the angel with white eyes," said Oakley. "She has been blinded by the horror she saw. The angel above her is praying for all of those who were affected by Hurricane Katrina."

The angel tree at Demontluzin was moved to this spot. Three people and a dog clung to the tree while Katrina roared ashore. The survivors commissioned Dayle Lewis to carve the tree and here it stands as the reminder of a miracle.

All the trees are symbolic monuments to the memory of Katrina and a source of pride in the Bay.

"He took these scars left behind and turned them into something important," said Oakley. "The angels represent rebirth. You can see the angels every day."

She continued: "It's important for everyone to see the rebirth. Here in the Bay, we know we're protected by angels."

You can call the Hancock Tourism Bureau at 228-473-9222 to set up a tour of the angel trees.

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