It is no secret that New Orleans values the arts. You can wander around the city and find not only historic architecture, but creative murals, sculptures and various forms of public art. With the help of many local organizations, such as the NOLA Mural Project and Arts Council New Orleans, artwork around the city continues to be created to inspire others. Street art has become a recognized part of the city’s landscape. Whether you want an Instagram backdrop or just to admire, here is a round up of a few of our favorite works.
This portrait of the late Allen Toussaint is located at 1441 North Claiborne Avenue in Treme. It depicts him with a glowing rim around his head, as if he was an angel. The artwork by Brendon Art was sponsored by the NOLA Mural Project.
A giant mural created by artists Jamar Pierre, Terrance Osborne, Lidya Araya, Lionel Miltone, and Shakor and Ivan Watkins adorns the outside of this Oretha Castle Haley cultural center. Local icons such as Louis Armstrong and Mahalia Jackson are accompanied by Mardi Gras Indians, gospel singers, a second line and more.
The recent passing of music legend Dr. John was a hard news for the world to bear. Head to 3223 Dryades Street, off the beaten path Uptown, to see him depicted full of the colors that embodied him so.
In June 2019, five large-scale murals were unveiled in Downtown New Orleans. The works were spearheaded by the Arts Council of New Orleans, and were the result of a competition from local and international artists. The artists selected were Etam Cru, Brandan “BMike” Odums, Team A/C, MOMO and Carl Joe Williams. Blank facades were transformed into works of art.
Muralist Courtney “CeAux” Buckley painted New Orleans born superstar, Lil Wayne, in Hollygrove at 8401 Olive Street. The painting gained extra traction when rapper, Drake, featured the mural in his music video for the song “In My Feelings.” You can see CeAux’s work around the city such as on St. Claude near Elysian Fields where he painted a 1990s New Orleans woman, who he named Teddie.
On a busy block of N. Rampart and Elysian Fields, a breath-taking mural makes people stop in their tracks. Two women, Nikki Breeze and Bee Whyne, are locking eyes in a moment of connection. The mural was inspired from a moment post-Katrina, when Nikki and her mom supported Bee through a difficult time.
A few of the world-renowned graffiti artist’s work can be found around the city. Seventeen were originally created in 2008, but many have been destroyed or covered up since. Many of the works reflected life during and directly after Hurricane Katrina. You can still see a girl with an umbrella on the corner of Kerlerec and North Rampart streets. At The International House Hotel, another famous but controversial work which depicts National Guardsman looting during Hurricane Katrina, can be found in the lobby.
You cannot miss the large mural painted on the Freret Street music club, Gasa Gasa. Berlin-based artists MTO painted the side of the building in 2013 as a commission from the owner, Micah Burns. The four males are screaming, one through a copy of the Fall. It symbolizes a call for help and yearning for youth. You can also see a work from AZ, a local graffiti artist resembling Banksy, on the other side of the building.
As part of the New Orleans Tricentennial in 2018, BMike was commissioned to paint a mural in the CBD. The artists depicted include Jazz legends Buddy Bolden, Freddie Keppard and Jelly Roll Morton. The mural symbolizes the building it sits on, as site of Frank Douroux’s first tavern and a performance hall where the depicted jazz musicians played.
Throughout this Treme park, you will find sculptures honoring music greats and neighborhood legends. The sculptures were created by various artists, but include depictions of a brass band, Mardi Gras Indian Chief Tootie Montana, Buddy Bolden, Mahalia Jackson and, of course, Louis Armstong.
Sponsored by the Young Leadership Council of New Orleans, painted streetcars were created to raise money for a new Art Pavilion. Streetcar sculptures were created and painted to depict iconic New Orleans scenes. You can find them around town such as next to the Saenger Theater, Fulton Street, Lafayette Square, and Audubon Park.