Popular Atlanta emu Big Lou dead at 29

Published: Aug. 4, 2022 at 7:42 AM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - His name was Big Lou. B-I-G stood for an acronym, beauty in the garden.

Beautiful the emu was, but now his pen sits empty for the first time in nearly three decades.

He lived in a 250-foot area for 29 years in Lake Claire. That entire time, Dawn Aura and her husband, Wing, were his caretakers.

Big Lou’s popularity grew across Atlanta.

“This is the famous emu gate where hundreds and hundreds of people over the years would come to visit him every day and bring him grapes and apples and blueberries,” said Aura.

People have even left flowers in his honor.

He was an exotic-looking bird with a big heart.

“He looked like a tridactyl from dinosaurs. He was very mild-mannered and very sweet. You could hug him and kiss him, and he loved people visiting him,” said Aura.

But soon, the visits slowed down. Last month, Big Lou’s health declined. Dawn said he wasn’t eating or drinking much up until his passing.

That back fence now sits quietly in the Auras’ backyard.

“I love when the kids would call from the back fence, ‘Lou.’ It was so cute and he would come if he wanted. So, that is kind of sad they are still calling him,” said Aura.

And it’s a call that will eventually fade. Even Aura is struggling to adjust. But she knows that big bird with the big heart, Big Lou, gave her and so many others decades of smiles and love.

“For 29 years, that regulated my life. My comings and goings. Got to get home in time to feed him. So, it’s gonna take a while to get used to it,” said Aura.