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Ol’ Man River sings to you down on the levee in Baton Rouge
By Tom Adkinson

Editor’s note: This is one in a series of travel stories spotlighting destinations and activities to consider in a time of coronavirus and to inspire safe outings elsewhere.)

Sing the River baton rouge la
"Sing the River"; image by Visit Baton Rouge

BATON ROUGE, Louisiana – You’ve seen “The Bean,” that highly reflective piece of public art in Chicago that’s shaped like, well, a kidney bean. There’s now a similarly reflective sculpture on the Mississippi River levee in Baton Rouge that goes one step farther – it sings to you. Actually, the river sings to you through the sculpture.

  louisiana state capitol
Louisiana State Capitol; image by Tom Adkinson

“Sing the River,” designed by a California-based artist named Po Shu Wang, is connected to sensors in the river and plays music that corresponds with the rise and fall of the water. Software in the sculpture converts data from the sensors into frequencies that sound like singing. It lights up at night and is visible from the I-10 bridge over the river, which is almost a mile away. The center of the sculpture is a gleaning ball, and arches topping out at 14 feet rise over the ball. It was a gift to the City-Parish of Baton Rouge from the Rotary Club of Baton Rouge to mark the club’s 100th anniversary in 2018.

Another Baton Rouge landmark that is nearby is the Louisiana State Capitol, which is the tallest state capitol in the nation (450 feet tall). It is certainly impressive, but don’t ask it to sing for you.

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(Travel writer Tom Adkinson’s new book, 100 Things To Do in Nashville Before You Die, is available at

Published December 25, 2020

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