Oaks Felled by Katrina Get New Life at Sea
Hurricane Katrina produced many downed live oak trees, but those losses have become a gain for Connecticut's Mystic Seaport.
Live oak wood is invaluable for ship restoration. A whaling vessel built in 1841, the Charles W. Morgan, will be an immediate beneficiary.
For many decades now, the Morgan has been among the dockside exhibits at Mystic. The museum intends to rebuild the ship, and will take her out of the water next year to get started.
Some of the wood came from the yard of Chuck Lobrano and his wife, Sandra. When Lobrano's biggest tree went down in the storm, the doctor in Long Beach, Miss., offered it to Mystic.
Lobrano had once toured the USS Constitution in Boston -- the 1798 frigate known as "Old Ironsides" -- and knew live oak was once favored for shipbuilding.
Mystic Seaport trucked more than 200 tons of wood from the Mississippi coast to Connecticut. The supply was a big help for the Morgan, and for smaller shipyards as well. The Lobrano family finds satisfaction in that, and in the warmth left behind -- they kept some of the tree's wood for making fires.
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