Fitts unveils new bead tree sculpture


Sanjali De Silva | Senior Staff Photographer

President Fitts points to the new “Bead Three” sculpture as Tulane students look on.

Sanjali De Silva, Senior Staff Reporter

After being struck by lightning a few years ago, a termite infection ultimately led to the removal of Tulane’s beloved “bead tree” last spring. Tuesday, University President Mike Fitts held a ceremonial beading of its permanent replacement, “Bead Three.” 

The “Bead Three” sculptures are three 21-foot steel sculptures located in the same spot as the old bead tree on the Academic Quad, although only one was up for Tuesday’s event. Made entirely of black steel and acrylic rods, the trees will light up in coordination with other campus lights at night.

“I think that it’s a really good idea considering what happened, obviously a living tree would be better, but it’s nice that they decided to come up with something that’s permanent and make it more of an art installation,” senior Ian Joselow said. 

At the beginning of the event, Fitts thanked Irene Keil, a professor in the School of Architecture, and local designer David Gregor who designed the sculptures. 

“They’ve come up with this huge monument at Tulane,” Fitts said. 

With Mardi Gras approaching, Fitts hopes that students will fill the “Bead Three” with parade throws. 

“Bead Three will be ever-changing, too, as the Tulane community and campus visitors continue to contribute to this interactive installation,” Fitts said in an email. 

While Joselow said he’s grateful the tradition can continue without potentially harming another tree, some students are not as happy about the way the bead tree replacement looks. 

“When I came to Tulane the first time, the bead tree looked like home. Now it looks very cold and unwelcoming,” junior Sequoia Ragland said. 

After 15 years with the old bead tree, the new “Bead Three” will become a defining feature of Tulane’s Uptown Academic Quad. 

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