On the Wall Part I

I didn’t used to be a fan of graffiti. I thought it was dirty and broke the rules. The first memory I have of graffiti is looking at a picture of a waterfall and all of the rocks were covered with graffiti. I dismissed it and said that it was ugly, that the graffiti took away from the natural beauty. Then someone (who was doing it to get a rise out of me) said or, the graffiti makes the waterfall more beautiful. And though he was being an ass, it gave me pause; what I think is beautiful other people might find ugly or vice versa. What I think is dirty is art to someone else. I don’t think that I really began to appreciate graffiti until eight years later when I studied abroad in Argentina. Graffiti in Argentina (not always) makes a statement or is artistic. Not unintelligible scribbles, that mark territory or some such nonsense, like we often see (again…not always).

I started noticing the graffiti and other assorted acts of “vandalism” in New Orleans. Then I realized that I have a whole bunch of really great pictures of things written on various surfaces around New Orleans. So this is my tribute to the hilarious, sad, awe-inspiring and the huh? that is written, drawn, scrawled, painted, whatever around New Orleans.

I have so many pictures that I decided to break it down by section and/or topic. First I will start off with some hurricane and disaster related writings.

“Looters will be shot–Katrina Rule”

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I interviewed various people about the “Katrina experience” for a Master’s project. One guy who stayed for the storm and lived in the Bywater told me that he knew he had to leave the City, not because of the storm, or flooding- these didn’t damage his area much- but because his neighbors were starting to arm themselves and sit out on their front porches to protect their property.

Eight years after Katrina, the City’s scars are still visible.
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The ‘X’ represents all that was Katrina: death, damage, lasting effects and volunteers. The top signifies the date the house was searched; the left the group that searched it; the bottom the number of dead; the right the number of structural hazards. The arrow (not always used) signals that there was a gas leak around the corner.

One Lower 9th Ward man’s call for love.

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I don’t know how long this table has been out here and I don’t know if this spot was where this man’s house used to stand. But I do know that this is a sentiment that is felt through New Orleans still. We seem to be a city that is wrapped up in nice paper, a sweet little bow and sold to consumers, who never really see pain in the truth.

“Piss off Isaac”

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Succinct and to the point, this sign was posted after the last not worthy hurricane, Isaac. I was driving around (when I shouldn’t have been…) and found this little gem…along with this next one.

NOT A ZOMBIE ENTRANCE”

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Again, very clear statement: we don’t want you zombies.

From the ashes and oil we will rise

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I feel like this is pretty clear: New Orleans has survived Katrina and the BP Oil Spill but we rise above it.

“Rise & Preserve”

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It’s what we do.

The point? Graffiti is often times just another way to publicly chronicle events in our lives.