Local artists meet, speak on resilience with floodwall project
The Lakefront Airport Terminal hosted an event on July 14 for the New Orleans International Muralists, LLC, who will paint a 1.5 mile mural along the Tchoupitoulas Street floodwall, between Josephine Street and Ninth Street. The group wishes to create public murals as a medium for educating and empowering local youth.
The painted floodwall will be a part of the city’s tricentennial celebration and is the first ever mural project on a floodwall in Orleans Parish. The Non-Flood Protection Asset Management Authority permitted a grant to allow the project.
Artist J. Pierre and Daniel “Deejay” Pate, New Orleans International Muralists co-founder and program director shared the painting “Resilience” by Pierre. The rendering is inspired by New Orleans’ history and culture and will be expanded upon to cover the floodwall. The collective shared uncolored sketches by Pierre too, revealing glimpses of what the beginning of the mural’s timeline of the city may look like.
Pierre said his thinking behind the painting “Resilience” is that residents of New Orleans have had to be culturally and environmentally resilient for the past 300 years, in order to preserve the city. In the future, Pierre said he would most like to paint on a public mural downtown, where he has roots, but the art collective is still figuring out ways to way raise money for projects in other Greater New Orleans areas.
Pate said he sees the Tchoupitoulas floodwall as a “well-traveled” canvas that a lot of people would lay eyes on. With the art and cultural background of New Orleans, he said he doesn’t know why a mural project like this hasn’t happened sooner.
“I feel like we’re behind in a sense,” Pate said.
He said that the New Orleans International Muralists haven’t gone into the surrounding community by the floodwall yet to hear reactions, but that they expect good feedback from people.
In having their public mural be apart of New Orleans tricentennial celebration, Pate said the collective will have to consider how far into recent history to visualize. He wasn’t sure if artists should depict the Confederate monuments coming down, but he did like the idea of illustrating the new number of condos in the city.
Five to 10 artists including will be in charge of painting the Tchoupitoulas Street floodwall, including Pierre and Courtney “Ceaux” Buckley. Buckley, one of five artists that comprise the Axiom Art Collective, said he is a longtime friend of Pierre and was glad that they found themselves with careers in art and now a project that they could all collaborate on.
Buckley explained that he’s a little intimidated to work on the public mural but that he’s willing to do whatever the New Orleans International Muralists need. He said he would like to contribute to such a visual project uptown, “just given the area’s residential history.”
The New Orleans International Muralists hopes to have the floodwall project completely finished by Oct. 2018.