Beauvoir Oaks Will Help Restore Historic Ship

Hurricane Katrina knocked down hundreds of trees on the Beauvoir property. But a select few will be used to help restore America's maritime heritage.

The wood from fallen live oaks, will bring new life to a historic wooden ship.

The two live oaks graced the grounds of Beauvoir for well over a century. Now the trees felled by the hurricane, have another calling.

"It's just a really wonderful way to take something that was terrible, such as Hurricane Katrina, and get something good out of it. We're able to help another facility. And this wood will live on," said Patrick Hotard, director at Beauvoir.

Once trimmed, the trunks will be shipped to Connecticut. Mystic Seaport Museum is recycling the live oaks and using the timbers for restoring a ship.

"It's a great link between our two regions in that live oak defines this region so much aesthetically, and it'll find new life in our ships," said Quentin Snediker, with Mystic Seaport.

Planks from the fallen oaks will be used to restore an 1841 wooden ship, the "Charles W. Morgan."

The trees will merge two chapters of American history. The ship will benefit from two oaks that date back to Jefferson Davis's day.

"Chances are, these trees were providing shade when he actually dwelled in the home here," said Snediker.

South Mississippians have long admired and enjoyed the majestic live oak trees. But you may not know that wood from the live oak has been a preferred material for generations of wooden ship builders.

"It's very dense and very strong. So, this makes it very valuable for ship building," he said.

Mystic Seaport will collect and recycle hundreds of tons of live oaks knocked down by Katrina. Using live oaks from Beauvoir added something special: History helping history.

"Everything fit together quite nicely. And we've got the wood and they'll put it to good use," Hotard said.

Mystic Seaport has been salvaging storm damaged trees since Hurricane Hugo in 1989. It's expected Katrina will yield the single greatest amount of wood for the ship restoration work.