Visitors to the Mississippi River levee in downtown Baton Rouge will soon see a new sculpture and hear it make music inspired by the river — after about a year-long delay.
In 2015, the Baton Rouge Rotary Club commissioned San Francisco-based artist Po Shu Wang to create the sculpture, which be on the levee near the intersection of Florida Street and River Road. It was to be donated to the city and installed during the Rotary's 100th anniversary last year. It's been sitting in storage because of high water levels on the river. The Army Corps of Engineers halted all construction within 1,500 feet of the river's edge.
"Construction was delayed on the project because of the extended high water of the Mississippi River above flood stage," said Davis Rhorer, executive director of the Downtown Development District and member of the local Rotary club.
The metal artwork features a sphere inside two partial spheres, spans 20 feet and is 14 feet tall. It will be illuminated at night with LED lights.
The music is controlled by a sensor in the water and played by a computer inside the sculpture. The sensor will measure the speed of the current and the height of the river. The information will bounce back to an antenna that will convert it to a sound, allowing the river to “sing.” Visitors will be able to “sing” back to the river, by either speaking into one of the spheres or pressing buttons.
"The large piece will be very visible from both the land side of the levee and the river side of the levee," Rhorer said. "We are very excited to see this sculpture come to life on the Mississippi River levee in downtown Baton Rouge for all to enjoy."
Construction on the concrete foundation and base for the artwork began recently and is expected to wrap up in October. It's expected to take another two weeks to install the sculpture, so it should be open for the public by late November or early December.
When many civic organizations reach milestone birthdays, few outside the club notice.