Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Dueling Oaks

So in one post I write that oak trees and history go together like pepperoni and pizza, and then in another I poke fun at a site that favorably compares a giant ancient oak to shrimp and grits.  That's just the kind of rank hypocrisy you can expect here at Oak Watch!

This is really cool.  In Creole days duels over honor were the official sport of New Orleans, and apparently many of those duels took place in City Park under the massive oaks.  From the site:

"The Duelling Oaks in City Park have seen some of the most colorful scenes in New Orleans' history. For years sword clanged against sword and bullets streaked between the ancient trees.

"An article in the Times-Democrat, March 13, 1892, said, 'Blood has been shed under the old cathedral aisles of nature. Between 1834 and 1844 scarcely a day passed without duels being fought at the Oaks. Why, it would not be strange if the very violets blossomed red of this soaked grass! The lover for his mistress, the gentleman for his honor, the courtier for his King; what loyalty has not cried out in pistol shot and scratch of steel! Sometimes two or three hundred people hurried from the city to witness these human baitings. On the occasion of one duel the spectators could stand no more, drew their swords, and there was a general melee.'"

There are some wonderful stories of some of the better known duelists.  Read them all.

I am a big proponent of bringing back dueling (I'm only partly kidding).  And no place better to do it than under some ancient oaks.


  1. Killing a person with a gun (or any distance weapon) is so impersonal that the killer doesn't really understand what he is doing. Sure, his brain knows - but not his emotions.

    The solution - outlaw guns for human conflict and bring back dueling!!! Of course, there should be some exceptions - the woman-beating husband, police officers, etc.


  2. Eric I agree - at least with the thought. I have been reading Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick which chronicle events leading up to and during King Phillip's War. I have been struck & repulsed by what close things warfare and death were during those times - hand to hand, face to face. The immediacy of it all sure didn't stop people from fighting and killing back then - killing was, so to speak, a part of life - but I think that it would have that effect these days. I know I couldn't bring myself to do it - with a couple of notable exceptions!