Crowley recognizes Arbor Day
A slightly brisk breeze and bright sun met a happy crowd Friday as a Caroline Sapphire Arizona Cypress tree was planted on the grounds of the Wells Fargo Depot in honor of the city’s Arbor Day celebration.
The tree was dedicated to and presented by the Attakapas Study Club, which is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year.
“We are happy to dedicate this tree on our 90th anniversary,” said Roy Lynn Trahan, president of the Attakapas Study Club. “We trust that this tree will be watered and nurtured and grow, taking root in the southwest Louisiana clay and becoming a part of Crowley for years to come, maybe even 90 years.”
The Attakapas Study Club began with 30 members traveling to St. Martinville on March 17, 1924, to sign their charter under the Evangeline Oak. The club then was known as the Attakapas Chapter of Delphians, a national women’s group.
The group would meet twice a month in the beginning, starting first on the seventh floor of First National Bank, but later choosing to meet in the homes of its members.
When choosing the club name, the ladies looked to the Native Americans that not only once were the first inhabitants of Acadia Parish, but a large portion of southwest Louisiana, the “Attakapas” tribe.
Since its inception, the group has studied various topics and made presentations fostering higher education, personal improvement and social progress.
As part of that mission, in 1926, in cooperation with the Acadia Parish Police Jury, the club was largely responsible for the establishment of a library in the parish. Although civic responsibility was never a direct goal of the club, many projects which began as club projects have served to improve the community over the past 90 years.
Currently, the Attakapas Study Club has 17 active members and two associates. Although the club is no longer affiliated with any state or national group, it meets once a month and continues to explore topics of interest while its members continue to enjoy social interaction.
The tree is a fast growing evergreen tree that is bluish green in color and extremely aromatic. The cypress tree loves the heat and is drought tolerant, seemingly perfect for Louisiana’s unpredictable climate.
The ceremony and celebration was not just about the Attakapas Study Club as several of Crowley’s civic organizations helped to make the program possible.
The Crowley Garden Club presented the city with three crepe myrtle trees to be planted in the city as well. The trees were presented in honor of Imogene LaCour (club member since 1987, chaplain and past vice president) and in memory of Isaac B. “Ike” Broussard (served as city clerk for 40 years and presented by his grandchildren and great-grandchildren) and Dr. Lionel “Poochie” delaHoussaye (presented by Dr. and Mrs. Cason delaHoussaye).
Also helping with the program were the Crowley Plant and Pray Club, which offered light refreshments after the program, and the West Crowley Beautification Club.
Mayor Greg Jones welcomed all who were in attendance, thanking all the involved clubs for their efforts and read the proclamation before presenting the clubs with a copy of the proclamation.
In her closing, Dot Simon, vice president of the Attakapas Study Club, once again offered thanks on behalf of the club.
“Speaking for the members of the Attakapas Study Club, we thank you dedicating this Carolina Sapphire Arizona Cypress and look forward to watching it grow,” she said.
The first Arbor Day took place on April 10, 1872 in Nebraska, the brainchild of Julius Sterling Morton (1832-1902), a Nebraska journalist and politician originally from Michigan. Throughout his long and productive career, Morton worked to improve agricultural techniques in his adopted state and throughout the United States when he served as President Grover Cleveland’s secretary of agriculture. But his most important legacy is Arbor Day.
A second Arbor Day took place in 1884 and the young state made it an annual legal holiday in 1885, using April 22 to coincide with Morton’s birthday.
In the years following that first Arbor Day, Morton’s idea spread beyond Nebraska with Kansas, Tennessee, Minnesota and Ohio all proclaiming their own Arbor Days.
Today all 50 states celebrate Arbor Day although the dates may vary in keeping with the local climate. Louisiana’s falls in January each year. This year, Arbor Day fell on Friday, Jan. 17, throughout the state.