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Monday, Feb. 17, 2014

THE ROOSTER STORY

Secrets of the fowl revealed: Owner Jack Lamb on the record

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It isn’t every day you see a 9-foottall rooster on the corner. That is, unless you drive past the corner of Hope and Texas streets in Shreveport, where a massive white, red and yellow beast of poultry has stood for a few short years.

Some might assume the rooster is owned by the city, but it is actually privately owned by Jack Lamb, former owner of Lamb Advertising. Lamb purchased the now-iconic sculpture from Corner Collections and bolted it onto the corner for one very simple reason: recognition.

“No one knew where Hope and Texas was,” Lamb said. “It was kind of frustrating. I owned all three corners there and had a warehouse on that corner, but when I would tell people where it was, no one could find it.”

Lamb said he was trying to figure out a solution when he saw the Nicaraguanmade rooster at Corner Collections.

“They told me how much it was, and I agreed to buy it. The problem I had was selling my wife on the idea,” he said. “So I have a ‘rat account’ that I use. It’s like rathole money I save up. I use it to buy duck decoys and shotgun shells and things like that. I used some rat money to buy that rooster, and I didn’t say anything to anyone about it. I just bought it and installed it.”

The next day, Lamb received a phone call from Charles Kirkland, who was the director of the Metropolitan Planning Commission at the time.

“He wanted to know what in the world I was up to,” Lamb said. “I kidded with him asking if he was going to make me take out a permit for my rooster, but he said they would call it an art piece and leave it at that.”

The rooster has clawed out a place in the news, as well. Lamb said the first time was when a neighbor of his spied the bird in a newspaper article in Washington, D.C. Most recently, readers of The Forum were treated to a feature photo of Andy Shehee, vice president of Kilpatrick Life Insurance Company, posed on top of the rooster.

“People go up there and take pics of their kids, and even the adults do it,” Lamb said. “It’s turned into a tourist attraction. During Mardi Gras, there’s always beads hanging on it. One Easter, someone put a basket in his beak; and another year someone put an egg behind him. It stayed there about a week before it disappeared.”

Lamb added the rooster has also become a popular 21st century target for fans of geocaching, which is a treasure hunting game where you use a GPS to hide and seek locations with other participants in the activity.

“The whole time the rooster’s been there, there’s never been any vandalism, trash, nothing. Everybody respects it,” Lamb said.

Lamb owned a few different advertising specialties companies since the late 1960s, and he retired in 2000. He said putting the rooster on the corner was an unusual move for him, but it had a zany appeal.

“I had an old airplane parked in the yard at my warehouse, and I was going to park it in that lot and put a sign that read, ‘Airplane rides, $5, you furnish the pilot,’ but I thought that might be pushing my luck on vandalism. I had some other property with a big tree next to the interstate, and I thought about sticking that airplane in the tree to make it look like it had crashed, but Charles Kirkland didn’t like that idea either, so for lack of community support, I sold the airplane,” he said.

“Installing that rooster was the only time I ever bought or did anything like that. It was a wild idea, something crazy but a lot of fun. If I get a little time and collect some more rat money, maybe I’ll come up with something else.”

Lamb has since given the land to his children. The corner remains undeveloped, and Lamb said as long as the city doesn’t ask him to move the rooster, it will stay there.

“It’s served my purpose,” he said.

“People still might not know where Hope and Texas is, but they know where that rooster is.”

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