Katrina, Graffiti, and the World I know …Posted: July 19, 2008
Today, I’d like to bring you here to New Orleans for my morning coffee rant. I live in a neighborhood called the Bywater. Most folks call it the Bohemian Bywater because many folks that live here are involved with the creative arts. We have a Louisiana magnet school (NOCAA.COM) that turns out students that become some of the world’s greatest musicians including all the Marsalis kids. We also have many many art galleries here. Some of the great news coming out of our paper today is that Starbux is finally giving up on us. We have our brand of coffees and independent coffee spots thrive all over town. We do things our own way down here and like it that way.
I live blocks from the habitat for humanity “Musicians Village”. I also live within blocks of Brad Pitt’s Pink Houses project. This is the ninth ward and it is a very interesting place. Not all of it was destroyed by Katrina. Since Hurricane Katrina, we have seen Sheiks, Princes of Wales, Rock Stars, Movie Stars, TV anchors, Presidents, Presidential Candidates, and regular people from all over the world in my neighborhood. They all come back because we are a special little place.
Since Hurricane Katrina, the creative juices as well as the frustration down here have led to some new expressions. There is no place this is more evident that the street art that has popped up. At first, it was limited to making political statements on the nasty refrigerator sitting on your front lawn. Then, it turned into something a bit more, well New Orleans. The photo on the right is one I took of my friend Jimmy Lalanne’s house. Jimmy stayed there during Katrina, despite my efforts to get his ass out of town. He’s an ‘approximate’ artist, used to work with Andy Warhol and is from cajun descent. You can see he riffed on his katrina cross painted by the texas guard on his own home.
So here’s our latest little neighborhood controversy, welcome to our battle against the Grey Ghost. The Grey Ghost has decided to eliminate all of these art forms in the surrounding neighborhoods. This has started to include grafitti art that exists every where including on buildings and walls where there is the permission of its owners. He’s named the Grey Ghost because, well see the video below and you’ll get the story. Also, go take a look at an article from this week’s Times Picayune.
This has turned into a first amendment issue for the Bohemian Bywater. We now have a movement with T-shirts, Youtubes, and a few law suits. So, welcome to my world!
You can read more about this and see more videos on the graffiti here: