(The Grenier Oak, also called the Donald Louis Peltier Oak, is located on the grounds of what was once called Forest Grove Plantation. It is located at 2123 LA Hwy. 1, approximately four and one-half miles north of downtown Thibodaux. There is a white wooden fence across the front of the property, with several large live oaks set back away from the highway in front of the private home. The Donald L. Peltier Oak / Grenier Oak is the largest oak in this group of trees to the left. This is private property and public entrance is strictly prohibited.)
The Grenier Oak was one of the original 43 inductee oaks in the Live Oak Society when the organization was founded in 1934 by Dr. Edwin Lewis Stephens. It was registered by Walter S. Lafargue with a girth then of 19 feet 10 inches. W.S. Lafargue is best known for his contribution as long-term Superintendent of Education in Lafourche Parish – he was the first education professional appointed to that position and made significant improvements to the quality of education in the parish. Previously, he was the assistant principal of Thibodaux College (a Catholic boy’s school) and held a part-time editor’s position with the Thibodaux Weekly Sentinel newspaper. Mr. Lafargue would likely have been friends with the Live Oak Society founder, Edwin Lewis Stephens since they were both educators.
The Grenier Oak is named after Joseph Louis Viateur “Cap” Grenier. The connection between W.S. Lafargue and “Cap” Grenier appears to be their shared love of baseball. W.S. Lafargue helped organize a semi-professional minor-league baseball team in Thibodaux, called the Thibodaux Pilots. Cap Grenier was President of the Bayou Lafourche Baseball Association. The Thibodaux Pilots were part of the Evangeline League and played their games at Stark Field. Stark field used to be located on the west side of Canal Boulevard, past Pecan Street.
For years, Mr. Grenier worked for Horace Williams Construction in New Orleans building highways, bridges, and levees across the South. During Governor Jimmy Davis’ term of office (1944–1948), Mr. Grenier served as Director of Highways for the State Of Louisiana. In that role, he was instrumental in building the paved highway between Thibodaux and Vacherie, the paved road to Grand Isle, and several paved stretches of highway on LA Hwy. 308. As chairman of its building committee, he helped endow Thibodaux General Hospital and was named outstanding citizen for Thibodaux.
Mr. Grenier purchased Forest Grove Plantation in 1942 when he retired from a long and successful career as a construction engineer. He built his home there and named it Oak Terrace. Land and sugar production records show that the name Forest Grove was used to identify this property as early as 1895 when it was owned by John Seely. The oaks on the grounds were likely growing on the land for a hundred years or more before 1900. The Grenier oak tree was re-registered with the Live Oak Society around 2011–2012 and the name changed to the Donald Louis Peltier Oak, a later owner of Grenier’s Oak Terrace home. Today, Forest Grove and the Oak Terrace home have new owners and the property is closed to the public.
The Lafourche Live Oak Tour was created through the generous support of Louisiana’s Cajun Bayou Tourism. For more information on Lafourche Parish events and activities, visit their website at LACajunBayou.com.