The image of a freshly cut, locally grown Christmas tree just doesn't seem to mesh with the automatic vision of hot, muggy summers and painful memories of natural disaster, but as residents in New Orleans merrily continue a 20 year old tradition of chopping their own tree, the seemingly surreal juxtaposition of southern climate and fine pine trees is demonstrated yet again to be real.
Cutting your own Christmas tree near New Orleans rarely involves snow and jingling sleigh bells. Nonetheless, the experience remains one of the sweeter holiday rituals for generations of Louisianians. Farms across the state are operating in high gear for the next few weeks, including the 20 growers who belong to the Southern Christmas Tree Association.
At Tiger Branch Christmas Trees in Covington, Brent Dufrene tends 10 acres of trees and a nursery --- a family business that once belonged to his wife’s uncle.