greek amphitheater with sunken garden, lsu campus

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looking online at historic photos of baton rouge, i found a postcard of the greek theater at lsu. i was surprised to see a huge reflection pool at the base of the hill, in what is now known as the enchanted forest. has this to say about the greek theater:

Seating approximately 3500, it was built in 1925 in a natural amphitheater and used for convocations, rallies, pageants, and commencement exercises. Today it’s used for outdoor concerts, religious ceremonies and a quiet place to study or daydream. The area behind it called “The Enchanted Forest” was cleared out in the early 1930’s when the Greek Theater Gardens were designed – a garden type park complete with a lagoon. The reflection pool was 150 ft. long, 30 ft. wide and 2 ft. deep with a 8 ft. high statue of the explorer “Desoto”. The statue was crushed and thrown into the Mississippi River; the same fate as the Spanish discoverer.

i also found an article from the lsu reveille newspaper, which stated that the pool was filled in 1960, and replaced by a “formal garden” (though little evidence of formality exists today):

With entry blocked on most sides, the Sunken Garden became known as the Enchanted Forest in the ’70s when the hippie movement became increasingly popular at the University, Cox said.

“They would go back there to have a little privacy and do whatever hippies do,” Cox said.


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