Being a huge nerd on Lake Charles history, one of my favorite things to tell people about is the Sallier Oak Tree. The live oak is registered with the Live Oak Society of Louisiana and has survived for over 375 years. The tree's namesake, Charles Sallier, is where Sallier actually built his winter home, using the shade of the tree to build under it. Just a fun fact, Charles Sallier is also the Charles in Lake Charles. The tree was struck by lightning at one point, and efforts were made to help save the giant limb that had been struck. Sadly, despite all of the best efforts, the limb was lost to rot years later. The chains that were used to hold the limb in place are still buried in the tree, as the tree grew around it. The tree still stands despite severe storms and weather on the grounds of the Imperial Calcasieu Musem.

Courtesy, Chuck Curet

After Hurricane Laura, the Sallier Oak took quite a beating in the winds that ripped the city apart piece by piece. I remember watching my parents' trees bend and break and thought about the old tree doing the same downtown. I couldn't imagine how the tree might look after the storm had finally passed.

Courtesy, Chad Moreno

Local, and amazing, photographer Chad Moreno just happens to be one of my favorite local photographers in the Lake Area. He is responsible for so many amazing, and awe-inspiring photos that we have all seen after Hurricane Laura. If there is an amazing photo of an event, band, or place around Lake Charles, there is a chance it was taken by Chad. After Laura, Chad went out and took pictures around Lake Charles including the old Sallier Oak. It had been beaten and bruised, but it appeared to still be standing. After a year of its passing, Chad went back out a few days ago and took another picture of the mighty oak tree. The tree, in a year, shows incredible signs of growth and tenacity as it shakes off the devastating blow it took just a year ago.

Its leaves have come back to almost full plume fashion, and you can even see some spots branching off of new growth. When compared to the 2017 photo captured by Chuck Curet, you can truly tell that there is a reason this amazing tree has been around for almost 400 years. I feel like this is a testament to the residents of the Lake Area. Despite the storms that we have faced in the last year, we will rebuild and our leaves and branches will thrive as time goes on.

LOOK: The most expensive weather and climate disasters in recent decades

Stacker ranked the most expensive climate disasters by the billions since 1980 by the total cost of all damages, adjusted for inflation, based on 2021 data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The list starts with Hurricane Sally, which caused $7.3 billion in damages in 2020, and ends with a devastating 2005 hurricane that caused $170 billion in damage and killed at least 1,833 people. Keep reading to discover the 50 of the most expensive climate disasters in recent decades in the U.S.