Exploring our roots: The Everyday Wonder of the Tree of Life

The Tree of Life in Audubon Park, officially the Etienne de Bore Oak, No. 13 of the first 43 oaks inducted into the Live Oak Sociery. (Photo: Renee Peck)

What is it about trees? Whether you’re into wonder with a capital or lower-case w, there’s something about trees that speak to us. All of us.

This episode of Everyday Wonder takes a field trip to New Orleans’s Audubon Park to interview the Tree of Life, a 160-foot-wide behemoth of a live oak with a cult-like following that has been around almost as long as the city itself. As celebrity trees go, the Tree of Life is an A-lister. Generations of citizens and visitors have made her a preferred destination for play dates, giraffe sightings, even weddings. Speaking of A-listers, Everyday Wonder co-host Brett Will Taylor even thinks she bears a resemblance to Lauren Bacall in the actress’s final photograph.

So there’s a lot to talk about — not just why this tree is so full of wonder, but why trees, overall, have a way of beckoning us. Why else would the Bible mention trees 525 times? And why do so many of us seem to have our own favorite tree, its roots planted somewhere along our life’s journey? These are just some of the questions that Renee and Brett Will ask the tree … and a few visitors on this episode of Everyday Wonder. 

A lesson for us all. (Photo: Renee Peck)


Brett Will Taylor, who is always suspicious of anything overly popular

Renee Peck, who likes to think of the tree of life with a lower-case l


The Tree of Life, aka the Etienne de Bore Oak, a gathering place for New Orleanians for centuries, and a leafy viewpoint for the Audubon Zoo giraffes next door

New Orleans, a noisy urban center that yet nourishes an oasis or two of serenity


Thomas Walsh


Producer Thomas Walsh interviews newlyweds from New York, celebrating at the Tree of Life. (Photo: Renee Peck)


Everyday Wonder is a weekly podcast that focuses on conversations about the things that really matter. Read more about it here. Send feedback and comments to Brett Will Taylor at brettwilltaylorew@gmail.com or Renee Peck at renee@nolavie.com.


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