Mother Nature Helps Crosby Arboretum's Storm Recovery

PICAYUNE (WLOX) -- The scars of Katrina are still evident in many areas of the Crosby Arboretum. Broken and up rooted trees still dot the landscape. But it's a marked improved from the day after the storm.

"It was a mess," Crosby Arboretum volunteer John Young remembers. "The walking trails were buried under trees and branches. You couldn't even get into the place, it was just a total mess."

"There was no way to get down the service road, and it took three months to clear the debris," said Senior Curator Patricia Drackett.

The crown jewel of the Arboretum, Pinecote Pavilion, suffered severe damage during Katrina when a falling tree crushed the roof structure.

"We got one major tree across the pavilion, we had some rafters and beams affected, and it was put back to where you can not tell today that the damage occurred," Drackett said.

Repairs to most of the buildings on the property have been made. Mother Nature began her own healing process immediately after the storm.

"Nature in general bounces back, maybe a little quicker than people will," Drackett said. "The site is still beautiful to walk through today. It feels on certain days that it's completely recovered."

"We have just instituted a bunch of wonderful programs that will include topics like hummingbirds, butterflies, invasive plants. We have Bob Brzuszek this weekend, Saturday, and he's a former curator. He was here for 13 years, so that's going to be a big draw this weekend. But a lot of wonderful educational programs to look forward to this Spring and Summer."

The Arboretum is one of Picayune's largest tourist attractions, bringing in school kids and nature lovers from all over. It's open Wednesday through Sunday, 9am-5pm. It's located on Ridge Road off of I-59 at exit 4.