Welder Honors Friends with Metal Art

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BILL FEIG/Advocate staff photo
BILL FEIG/Advocate staff photo

John Rosso is a retired welder who designed a colorful,metal bird sanctuary in his own backyard.He often includes old skillets, painted red,in his sculptures. Each section of the sanctuary, which he calls “The Condo” is dedicated to a personal friend which has passed away during the last few years. The masterpiece is adorned with a myriad of metal ornaments, each one holding a special meaning for the person to whom it is dedicated.

Plaquemine man honors friends with bird sanctuary

PLAQUEMINE — John Rosso, a retired welder, can’t stand to see things go to waste.

His house at the corner of Church and Martin streets was built before 1840. Rosso, 65, owns the house next door. It dates from the early 1900s. Both houses and their yards warehouse cypress and longleaf pine lumber, metal, furniture, hardware, anything Rosso thinks he might have a use for one day.

About 15 years ago, Rosso’s friend, “Doc” Cameron, died. Cameron was a big-time purple martin landlord. As many as 50 pairs of the big swallows spent their springs and early summers in Cameron’s birdhouses on Ford Street.

More than a million people in North America provide lodgings for purple martins, making the birds dependent on humans for nesting places in the eastern United States, according to the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center.

“After ‘Doc’ Cameron died, they bulldozed three or four of his big purple martin houses,” Rosso said. “That one there is one. I call it ‘The Condo.’”

Rising above Rosso’s backyard, ‘The Condo’ is like an airport in the morning and evening as purple martin families arrive and depart in noisy song.


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