Saturday, April 22, 2017

Fontainebleau State Park, Mandeville, Louisiana

With my French Canadian friend Max @ the  Fontainebleau State Park, Mandeville, Louisiana 

About a month ago I was not feeling well. I had come down with the flu from a French house guest staying with me at the time. A week after he left I was receiving two house guest @ the château de Hopkins. A good friend from Baltimore, Maryland and Max from French Canada.  I  was still sick and don't know how I did it. During the stay we decided to take a trip across the Lake from New Orleans to Fontainebleau State Park, Mandeville, Louisiana for some fresh country air. The crumbling brick ruins of a sugar mill built in 1829 by Bernard de Marigny de Mandeville, founder of the nearby town of Mandeville, suggest an interesting history for this site, and indeed there is. The wealthy Marigny developed this area across Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans as a sugar plantation until 1852. The plantation income helped support his lavish lifestyle. He named his large land holding Fontainebleau after the beautiful forest near Paris, a favorite recreation area of the French kings.

The 2,800-acre park is located on the shore of Lake Pontchartrain. On a clear day, visitors can see the lake dotted with multi-colored sailboats of all sizes and types. The sandy beach also is a delight for sunbathers. An old railroad track that runs through the park has been converted into the Tammany Trace as a part of the Rails to Trails program. It is a wonderful route for cycling, hiking and in-line skating. After a full day of activities, overnight guests can enjoy the rustic charm of the campground or the scenic setting of the lakefront cabins.

The park's nature trail is a favorite of nature lovers. Interpretive signs along the trail will help you identify many of the common trees and shrubs. Always be on the lookout for birds and other animals. Over 400 different species live in and around Fontainebleau. The Fontainebleau Birding Guide is a good resource for enthusiasts to identify the numerous species of birds found in the area. Bordered on three sides by water--Lake Pontchartrain, Bayou Cane and Bayou Castine--and characterized by a convergence of diverse ecosystems, it has a multitude of habitats for birds.

Max and his friend flipper 

Beautiful sky and clouds over the lake

Max sees Spanish moss for the first time! 

Cypress tress along the beach 

Cypress knee is a distinctive structure forming above the roots of a cypress tree 

Max and his friend flipper. 

Cypress knees growing out of the sand. 


Max was in love with this dead tree. 

Max was in-love with this tree. 

Live oak or evergreen oak is a general term for a number of unrelated oaks in several different sections of the genus Quercus that share the characteristic of evergreen foliage.

The name live oak comes from the fact that evergreen oaks remain green and "live" throughout winter, when other oaks are dormant and leafless. The name is used mainly in North America, where evergreen oaks are widespread in warmer areas along the Atlantic coast from southeast Virginia to Florida, west along the Gulf Coast to Louisiana and Mexico, and across the southwest to California and southwest Oregon.

When the term live oak is used in a specific rather than general sense, it most commonly refers to the southern live oak (Quercus virginiana), the first species so named, and an icon of the Old South, but can often refer to other species regionally.

The southern live oak is the official state tree of Georgia.

In Texas, a small grove of live oaks is known as a mott.

Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides) is an epiphytic flowering plant that often grows upon larger trees in tropical and subtropical climates, native to much of Mexico, Bermuda, the Bahamas, Central America, South America, the southern United States, and the West Indies as well as being naturalized in Queensland (Australia) known as "grandpas beard" and in French Polynesia.

In the United States where it is most known from, it is commonly found on the southern live oak (Quercus virginiana) and bald-cypress (Taxodium distichum) in the lowlands, swamps, and savannas of the southeastern United States from Texas and Florida north through southern Arkansas and Virginia.

Live oak tree. 

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