Katrina-damaged trees in Long Beach becoming sculptures

Published 5:38 pm Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A sculptor who carved dolphins and fish into the trunks of oak trees damaged by Hurricane Katrina in Biloxi will do the same for Long Beach.

“It all fell into place like a gift from God,” said Richard Burton, a Long Beach alderman.

Marlin Miller carved shore birds and other animals into the trunks of the dead oak and cypress trees in the U.S. 90 median in Biloxi. After reading about Miller’s work, Burton hoped to persuade the Florida artist to do the same in Long Beach after a fundraising campaign to pay for the work.

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Miller agreed but wanted to do the work as a gift to the city, as he had done in Biloxi. Miller will carve four trees, two at the eastern end of the city and two large oaks across from the entrance to the University of Southern Mississippi.

The work began last weekend with Miller carving the smaller trees with a chain saw.

While Burton was hoping for an eagle, the mascot at USM, to be carved into one of the oaks across from the university, Miller had something larger in mind. He will carve a pair of eagles in flight.