Climbing the Live Oak Tree

Kids Helping Kids Community Fundraiser

(Collaborative book, work in progress)


Author’s Note:


Climbing the Live Oak Tree was inspired by none other than the remarkable Friendship Oak. The Friendship Oak is a 500-year-old live oak tree on the Gulf Park campus of the University of Southern Mississippi in Long Beach just a frisbees toss from the Gulf of Mexico. While volunteering to help rebuild homes after hurricane Katrina, I stumbled across what was left of this magnificent tree after the storm. Upon learning the legend of how it bestowed lifelong friendship to those who shared its shade I was moved to write this story in an effort to make sure that that message of friendship would never be forgotten.


As it turns out the tree didn’t need my help. It miraculously recovered through its own fortitude. It has since suffered some damage, but it continues to be the astounding example of resilience and survival that inspired this story of hope and appreciation for all life. 


This special version of the book is the result of an ongoing collaboration between myself and children from communities along the coast of southern Louisiana whose homes are highly venerable to hurricanes and other environmental disasters.


They are graciously sharing their time and talents to illustrate my story. The result will be a charming book of resilience, survival, and appreciation for all life that also reminds us to be properly prepared for hurricanes and other natural disasters. The book will be available on Amazon and in various locations within the Houma community such as the Ground Pat'i. All proceeds from the book’s sales will go toward supporting families and children in the participating communities.


With Love and Compassion, 

Paul Rodriguez



Submit a drawing to win and help your community at the same time!


If you love to draw or paint and are between the ages of 7 and 13, you could have your artwork included in the children’s book, Climbing the Live Oak Tree. 


To enter, Visit the Ground Pat'i in Houma.


Check out the demo book. You will see pages with pictures that have already been finished and pages with just text and the word AVAILABLE in a green box. 


Read the text on the AVAILABLE pages. 


Find one that you would like to draw a picture of.


Tell a Ground Pat’i staff member the page number, and they will help you fill out an entry form. (Only one page per artist.)


If you win, not only will you have your artwork published in this amazing children’s book you will also be helping to raise money to assist children and families who suffer from natural disasters.


This proceeds from this fundraising project are available to all and any members of participating communities along the coast of Louisiana regardless of race, color, religion, or any other human distinction. Anyone can ask for assistance or recommend someone who they believe can use assistance. Recipients will be chosen based on urgency and need.


To ask for assistance or recommend assistance, please contact:


Paul Rodriguez:



The Climbing the Live Oak Tree Book Page Illustration Competition is sponsored by Linda Ayers and the Ground Pat’i Houma. The project is part of the Project Learn La-Terre community outreach program directed by Natalie Bergeron. The original story Climbing the Live Oak Tree and the book community fundraiser concept were created by Paul Rodriguez of Rodro Books and Education in cooperation with Project Learn La-Terre.

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