64 Parishes

Spring 2023

From Little Acorns

Oaks celebrated on a Books Along the Teche bike tour

Published: February 28, 2023
Last Updated: June 1, 2023

From Little Acorns

Photo by Steven Shea Jr.

The afternoon sun peeks through one of the many live oak trees along New Iberia’s Main Street.

Over its seven-year existence, the Books Along the Teche Literary Festival has grown from a celebration of local luminary James Lee Burke into a broader event encompassing the area’s writers, southern literature, and the pretty and historical town of New Iberia. In recent years the festival has offered tours of notable oak trees around town, calling attention to the trees’ role as an important part of the local landscape and filling attendees in on some of the scientific facts and horticulture behind the iconic species.

Given that the festival has already offered tours by bus, by boat, and on foot, for this year’s oak tour, organizer Ellen Mullen looked to one of the few remaining common means of transport in Louisiana: the bicycle. Led by licensed arborist Jim Foret, the If These Trees Could Talk tour will offer tidbits of oak lore—for example, when oaks are planted in a grove, they can grow up instead of out in the familiar glorious toadstool shapes—and information on how to approximate a tree’s age by measuring the trunk. The bicycles will make it possible for the tour to go further afield and visit more notables trees, many of which are named and appear on the prestigious Live Oak Society registry.

The Books Along the Teche Literary Festival takes place in New Iberia March 31–April 2, with the bicycle tour of oaks taking place Sunday, April 2. Attendees can rent a bike online from Lafayette nonprofit Transportation Recreation Alternatives in Louisiana at latrail.org/oak; bikes will meet you at the event. More information and a full festival schedule at booksalongthetecheliteraryfestival.com.