BOSTON (AP) — The creator of the pink plastic lawn flamingo, the ultimate symbol of American lawn kitsch and an iconic symbol for Baton Rouge’s oldest neighborhood, has died. Donald Featherstone was 79.
Featherstone’s wife, Nancy, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that her husband died Monday at an elder care facility in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, after a long battle with Lewy body dementia.
Featherstone, a trained sculptor with a classical art background, created the flamingo in 1957 for plastics company Union Products, modeling it after a bird he saw in National Geographic. Millions of the birds have been sold.
Featherstone worked for Union for 43 years, inventing hundreds of plastic products in that time and rising to the position of president before his retirement in 1999.
Baton Rouge’s oldest neighborhood, Spanish Town, claims the kitschy lawn ornament as its personal mascot, and the pink flamingo features prominently in the neighborhood’ annual Mardi Gras Spanish Town Parade.