Artists and documentary photographers Chandra McCormick and Keith Calhoun’s collaborative public art project, Memoirs of the Lower 9th Ward, challenges conventional structures of remembrance, symbols of shared memory, and our understanding of who or what should be memorialized and how in public spaces.
From Prospect New Orleans: "
Memoirs depicts everyday life in the community beginning in the early 1980s, with residents strolling along Caffin Avenue and Galvez Street, Ms. Dora Lee sitting with her pipe, Ms. Watson sewing at Watson Cleaners, Boogie Bill Webb playing music on his front porch, and women of Holy Family Spiritual Church engaging in ceremony. The photos also showcase significant moments in the community’s history, including residents hanging out at Jr’s Bar at the levee, Mr. Hebert Gettridge’s return home after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and the Lady Divas’ Social Aid & Pleasure Club stepping out after the storm. Other highlights include Fats Domino sitting on his porch with his neighbors, the 2020 Martin Luther King, Jr. High School graduates celebrating their achievements, and a portrait of Greater Little Zion Baptist Church members. Together, these images and others honor the public memory of the Lower 9th Ward, the people who shaped its existence, those who remain, and those who are committed to its future.
The sculpture is an incredible testament to the fortitude of a community that has endured decades of hardship and neglect. McCormick and Calhoun’s work is a powerful reminder that public art can be much more than just a decorative feature. Memoirs challenges us to move beyond singular figures and think critically about our shared history, values, and dreams for the future."
Sculpture unveiling - 4pm on the neutral ground between Andry St. and Flood St on the 5400 block of N. Claiborne Ave
Reception - 5:30 to 7:30 PM featuring a musical performance by Herlin Riley at the Katrina National Memorial Foundation Museum. The celebration will conclude with a second line parade ending at 8:00 PM.