#OTD On this day in 2012, tree number 5,000 was planted at City Park in New Orleans following the destruction of Hurricane Katrina.
As a point of reference, tree number one or the oldest tree in New Orleans City Park is likely the famed McDonogh Oak lovingly called the Grandmother Tree by locals, which is estimated to be approximately 800 years old. The tree is supported by wooden 'crutches' that hold the impressive large old branches. There is also a plaque near the bottom of the tree trunk, which tells that the tree is named in honor of John McDonogh, who donated the park's original 100 acres in 1854.
In 1850, McDonogh left half of his fortune, $1.5 million, to the cities of Baltimore, New Orleans, and McDonoghville for the express purpose of helping children, which is why so many schools were named in his honor. The final withdrawal from the fund was made in 2002.
During his Lifetime, McDonogh accumulated land after making his fortune in brick making and shipping. He wore the same old suit and reportedly looked like a bum to save as much money as he could so that he could acquire more land for the children.
One of the pieces of land that McDonogh acquired included the old grove at New Orleans, which is the home of some of the oldest trees in the country - including the McDonogh Oak. The old forest has survived so long because it sits on high ground. As a result, these ancient trees didn't experience the devastating flooding from Hurricane Katrina.