Artist turns tree stump into statue of city park creator

BATON ROUGE – Burt Fleming is an artist. His canvas is a tree stump.

“Basically I cut by sight. First I start and I cut and bring the head above the shoulders and then I tap it off,” Fleming said.

His brush is a chainsaw.

“In some places I just use the chainsaw, but I can use chisels, grinders.”

This week his inspiration is Tom Bendelow. Known as “the Johnny Appleseed of American golf,” Bendelow designed the City Park golf course in 1924.

The wood Fleming uses is the stump of an oak tree, knocked down during Hurricane Ida.

For more than 20 years, the Central resident has turned what would normally be thrown away into art.

“I’ve done a 30 foot alligator… a 10 foot golfer, 20 feet in the air. I do eagles in people’s yards.”

Every cut is carefully made, but accidents happen.

“If I knock the nose off, I’ll just glue another piece of wood on it and cut it again”

Within a few days, Fleming says the stump will begin to take shape. You can watch his progress near the clubhouse in the City Park.

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