A Live Oak Afterlife
April 2, 2012 9:00 AM   Subscribe

On September 13, 2008, Hurricane Ike made landfall at Galveston, Texas - which had previously endured one of the most devastating natural disasters in US history: The 1900 Storm. The waters receded and life went on for most of the island's residents. The same was not true for the approximately 40,000 live oak trees which were killed in the area by the saltwater stormsurge, many of which were planted just after the hurricane that devastated the island in 1900. One by one, the trees died and had to be removed. Some residents refused to accept this, and instead hired artists to carve the now-dead trees into works of art. Some became sea birds. Some became angels. The trees outside the fire department became a dalmatian staring longingly at an uncapped fire hydrant. Others became frogs and dogs and squirrels. Mermaids and dolphins suddenly jumped out of asphalt and cement. Someone even decided that the town really needed a Tin Woodsman. Another person decided to have a geisha carved on their front lawn. I can only imagine that a very small art critic demanded that Spongebob Squarepants be carved on the side of his or her house. They range in size from 2' tall hoptoads to 20' tall eruptions of seabirds. And they're all on display for you to enjoy! See a list of sculptures here. And a suggested walking map to view the sculptures here. And a slideshow with many pictures of the sculptures here.
posted by jph (18 comments total) 47 users marked this as a favorite
Wow. These are gorgeous. Good for them for turning a tragedy into sculptures.

Thanks for posting this!
posted by zarq at 9:35 AM on April 2, 2012

Very interesting! Thanks!
posted by robstercraw at 9:40 AM on April 2, 2012

This is fantastic, and good on the people of Galveston for turning an otherwise horrible tragedy into art.
posted by kernel_sander at 9:44 AM on April 2, 2012

The loss of those trees is heartbreaking. Good on the folks at Galveston for making art from tragedy.

(Erm, on preview, what kernel said...)
posted by dejah420 at 9:58 AM on April 2, 2012

I love you Metafilter. Great post.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 10:02 AM on April 2, 2012

What a beautiful tribute.

Really need to get down to Galveston this summer....
posted by batmonkey at 10:04 AM on April 2, 2012

Really cool!
posted by grog at 10:05 AM on April 2, 2012

The frog reminds me of Hypnotoad, I really like most of them but don't quite understand why one would want a carved geisha.

posted by Harpocrates at 10:19 AM on April 2, 2012

The same was done in Biloxi, Gulfport, and Long Beach, MS after Katrina

They call themselves Chainsaw Artists

Marine life is a popular subject, as well as patriotic symbols

Thanks, Katrina
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:44 AM on April 2, 2012

When life gives you dead trees, make .. sculptures!

Such a fantastic idea and executed with great care and love. My personal favorite is the Great Dane leaning over the fence.
posted by Leezie at 11:48 AM on April 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

My husband and I were living there at the time of Hurricane Ike. After the hurricane, we left. I can't imagine any reason I'd ever want to go back to that trash hole of a city, but this might be a good one.
posted by Malice at 11:54 AM on April 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm thinking a weekend trip to Galveston next fall after it cools off sounds really good, especially with that walking map.
posted by immlass at 11:58 AM on April 2, 2012

The great dane is kind of hilarious. (That's the house my sister's best friend lived in growing up!) Someone broke off one of his paws recently, and since then he's been sporting a sign that says "$50 reward for the dog's hand; $500 reward for the thief's hand."

posted by jph at 12:28 PM on April 2, 2012 [2 favorites]

Oh man, that's really a shame -- live oaks are just the friendliest trees that there are, they've got these huge limbs that stretch far and wide, often very low. Having a house that has live oaks and then losing them, in Texas, the property has just lost so much of its appeal, so much of its beauty. I'm glad that they did try to do something, just too bad about the loss of those beauties.

posted by dancestoblue at 3:36 PM on April 2, 2012

Great post! It's a nice way to keep Galveston weird. Many happy memories of the place, and of a half-pirate, resilient people who keep watching their island go underwater, and keep moving back when it surfaces.
posted by Miko at 4:19 PM on April 2, 2012

I'm thinking a weekend trip to Galveston next fall after it cools off sounds really good, especially with that walking map.

Take pepper spray.
posted by Malice at 5:04 PM on April 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

What kind of a negative experience did you have in Galveston, Malice? I won't deny that there are some rough areas, but these sculptures are not in those areas. The island has a pretty undeserved reputation for being dangerous in my opinion. I grew up there and I rarely have good things to say about the place - but safety has really never been a concern to me.
posted by jph at 6:59 PM on April 2, 2012

« Older I can see my Grandma from here   |   You might want to have your surprised face handy. Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments