From the archives: The lasting legacy of Steele Burden
If you’ve walked through LSU’s Rural Life Museum and grounds, tailgated under the trees of LSU’s campus or had a picnic among the lush flowerbeds of City Park, you have the late Steele Burden to thank, even if he wouldn’t accept the praise.
“It’s embarrassing what they write about me,” Burden told inRegister back in 1990 when he was featured on the cover at the age of 90. “I didn’t plant all those trees at LSU, just some of them. I didn’t plant the Memorial oaks. I wish I had, but I didn’t and I don’t even know who did.”
But, as writer and publisher Wanda Horn notes in her story, Burden can be credited for much of Baton Rouge’s trademark landscaping. “He did plant many of the trees at LSU—the ones on Dalrymple Drive, the ones around the stadium, the ones in the quadrangle and behind the Greek Theater, and all the crape myrtles and more,” she writes. “He did plant all the trees at City Park and landscaped much of Baton Rouge.”
At the time of this story, Burden was reflecting on his and his family’s legacy, which lives on to this day in many ways, including through Windrush Gardens, which was freshly restored back in 1990. Today, guests can still visit and enjoy the Windrush grounds, as well as the rest of Burden’s projects, which have flourished over the years, inspiring others to make Baton Rouge a little more beautiful.