December 10, 2011
Sunday, Dec. 11, the City of St. Martinville, La. will present the St. Lucy Festival of Lights. During the festival, citizens will have the opportunity to own a piece of the Evangeline Oak. The Acorn Project will be offering handmade Christmas ornaments made from acorns and leaves from the historic tree.
In October 2011, the Evangeline Oak Tree began dropping acorns by the hundreds. According to those charged with the tree’s care, the Evangeline Oak has not produced a healthy crop of acorns in approximately eight years.
Immortalized by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's 1847 poem "Evangeline", Evangeline and Gabriel, a betrothed Acadian couple, are separated when forced out of their homeland of Nova Scotia. Evangeline's long and meandering search for Gabriel brings her to the Atchafalaya Basin, where at one point, the lovers' boats unwittingly glide past one another. Arriving in the Poste des Attakapas, or the area of present-day St. Martinville, Evangeline is reunited with Gabriel's father, only to be "irrevocably barred from this pastoral paradise" when she learns of Gabriel's recent departure and marriage. According to legend, after hearing this news, she is said to have died of a broken heart beneath the moss laden branches of the Evangeline Oak.
The oak's recent return to health is attributed to the benevolent work of Daniel Green Enterprises, Inc. of Breaux Bridge, La. In an attempt to preserve the legacy and integrity of the Evangeline Oak Park, The Acorn Project was established in Oct. to raise money for the Park’s beautification and maintenance and to educate the public about the Oak’s history.