Dig Baton Rouge

PHOTOS ISSUE: The Lakes

By Cody Worsham

LSU’s iconic lakes have been dying since they were born.

“The lake behind me is beautiful, pristine. It’s a huge asset to the city of Baton Rouge, the University and the people of Louisiana. But they’re slowly dying.” – SWA Group’s Kinder Baumgardner

Originally a Public Works project designed to stimulate a depressed economy in the 1920s and 1930s, the lakes are a manmade transformation of natural cypress swamplands, and they’ve been reverting to that natural state since the day FDR’s workers completed their jobs.

That is, until now.

Thanks to an effort spearheaded by the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, the lakes are getting a new lease on life. BRAF selected the SWA Group in June to tackle the task of revitalizing the five bodies of water, and work began in September. For now, things are in the preliminary stages, with planners getting public input and gearing up for a project that could cost $30 or $40 million. The master plan should be finished by June 2015.

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