Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Cathedral & Oak of Lafayette, LA

Lafayette, Louisiana is today the unofficial capital of the Cajun parishes of the Pelican state.  Once known as Vermilionville, it sits on the Vermilion River just west of the Atchafalaya Basin.

Its important role in the lives of those of Acadiana is, in a unique way, summed up by the song Allons a Lafayette, the first Cajun song to be recorded, which makes mention of going to Lafayette to be married.  This site says a bit more on that subject: http://www.louisianafolklife.org/LT/Articles_Essays/cajun_wed.html

Here is a recording of the song by Lee Benoit:

Sign in front of St. John the Evangelist Cathedral [Photo by author]

In any event, Lafayette, Louisiana is today the seat of the Catholic Diocese of Lafayette, whose neo-Romanesque or Romanesque-revival Cathedral, the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, was completed in 1916AD.  It is certainly a striking example of its kind!  It was constructed, as the sign above notes, on ground donated in 1821AD.

The interior and exterior of the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, Lafayette, Louisiana [Photo by author]

The St. John's Cathedral Oak next to the Cathedral, Lafayette, LA [Photo by author]

Just next to the Cathedral is a truly magnificent speciman of Live Oak (Quercus virginiana), known as the St. John Cathedral Oak.  This tree, thought to be nearly 500 years old, is a splendid example of what the great oaks of the South can grow to be.  It is 9 feet 2 inches in diameter, 126 feet high, and 134 feet across!

Sign next to the St. John Cathedral Oak, Lafayette, LA [Photo by author]

A view of the trunk and understorey of the St. John Cathedral Oak [Photo by author]

Live well!

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