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I Saw In Louisiana
I Saw in Louisiana A Live-Oak Growing
BY WALT WHITMAN (Excerpt)
I saw in Louisiana a live-oak growing,
All alone stood it and the moss hung down from the branches,
Without any companion it grew there uttering joyous leaves of dark green,
And its look, rude, unbending, lusty, made me think of myself. . .
This ancient live oak, draped gracefully with Spanish moss was captured in Audubon Park in New Orleans, Louisiana early one foggy morning.
The Audubon family began in Audubon Park—once home to Native Americans, and later, to New Orleans' first mayor, Etienne de Boré. He founded the nation's first commercial sugar plantation here and developed its first granulated sugar through a process invented by Norbert Rillieux, a local free man of color. The land would not fall into public hands until 1850, when a philanthropist willed it to the city. During the Civil War, the location alternately hosted a Confederate camp and a Union hospital. In 1866, it was the activation site for the 9th Calvary, the "Buffalo Soldiers" whose defense of our country's western frontier made an indelible mark on America's African-American heritage.
Site improvements made for The World's Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition of 1884 (Louisiana's first world's fair) laid the foundation for an urban park. The city had acquired the land for this purpose in 1871 and in 1886, city planners changed the park's name from Upper City Park to Audubon Park. This was in tribute to artist/naturalist John James Audubon who painted many of his famed "Birds of America" in Louisiana.
January 21st, 2013
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