Breaux Bridge – Many parish residents pass by a spectacular old oak tree on their way to work. It is located at the intersection of Doyle Melancon Road and Grand Point Hwy/La. 347.
This live oak is registered as Historical Landmark #1374, named Doyle Melancon, with the Louisiana Live Oak Society.
Local historian Kenneth Delcambre registered the oak in the 1980s, at that time the oak was measured at 20.03 feet in circumference. It now has a 24’ girth.
It is estimated that the live oak was planted between 1800-1810, making it more than 200 years old.
About two weeks ago Becky Guidry noticed several workers with the state Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) doing survey work right outside her front door. When questioned, DOTD workers told Guidry they were “mapping out for future roadwork.”
Becky and her husband Wilson have lived on the corner of Doyle Melancon and Grand Point for the past 20 years. During this time they have witnessed numerous accidents at this intersection, first when it was a four-way stop, then a caution light.
After making phone calls to DOTD and elected officials the Guidrys were not able to get any definite answers as to why their property was being surveyed.
While browsing the LA DOTD Web site, Tessie, the Guidry’s daughter, discovered that a roundabout is scheduled for that intersection.
After interviewing the Guidrys the Teche News contacted the Department of Transportation and Development.
Deidra Lockhart, public information officer, released the following statement – “At this time DOTD is surveying the location to determine if the roundabout can be feasibly constructed within the limits of the project. Since the tree is historically registered, we are examining various avenues to construct the roundabout without impacting the tree. The project to construct the roundabout at La. 347 at Doyle Melancon is estimated to let (project will be advertised for bids) to construction in March 2013.”
The Guidrys have set up an online petition and in five days received more than 200 signatures. There is also a planned Save Our Community Petition Signature Day scheduled for the weekend of Oct. 20-21 at the intersection.
They are petitioning against the construction of this roundabout because of the effect to the nearby homes, businesses and land-owners in the community. They are urging leaders to act now and explore a less extreme options before breaking ground on this project.