Roberta Brandes Gratz @ Nations Books (excerpt) - Nothing defines New Orleans better than the Live Oak trees that line its streets, grace its parks, provide shade and shelter during the relentlessly hot summers, and buffer storm winds. The leafy long branches of the curbside trees spread horizontally so far across the street toward each other that they form lush canopies of green, adding an elegant aura to even the most downtrodden rows of houses. The green lasts all winter. In the spring, new leaves emerge as old ones fall; thus the term Live, which distinguishes them from other oaks that remain leafless and dormant in winter. As they grow, twisting and turning in the winds, the Live Oaks gain their strength by anticipating the way the winds blow and adapting to the fierce changes in weather. Read more.