There’s no place like New Orleans. Traveling the US for the last four years, cities begin to look alike especially post internet and social media. NOLA’s character stands out from the rest with its locals that tell it like it is, hospitality, rich southern history and of course, the spirit of Mardi Gras.
RV’ing through the Big Easy in 2016 we knew this city deserved a Greetings mural. Returning 3 years later, we wanted to donate our time and art to this beautiful city. With some of the current mural ordinances in place, it proved to be pretty difficult to get a wall with our limited time.
As we were scouting walls down Magazine Street on New Years Eve, we stopped in an antique shop where we found a beautiful alpaca fiber blanket from Ecuador. We had been looking for a good blanket for quite some time and weren’t expecting to find one there. As we handed the store owner payment, he asked where we were from. We told him about our travels and project and that’s when the seeds got planted for the Greetings from NOLA mural!
Fernando, the owner of the antique shop, La Belle Nouvelle Orleans got our information and sent us a lead to his friend & neighbor’s building, just down the block. It was a prime location on Magazine and Josephine in the Lower Garden District/Irish Channel.
Over the course of the next two months, we had flights to Costa Rica, Los Angeles, Bermuda and Hawaii. While we were away, Fernando spearheaded the mural project by crowdsourcing some funding to cover supplies from local businesses on Magazine St.
After those two months of work travel, we returned to the Crescent City ready to paint. Timing couldn’t have been more perfect — we were just in time to paint during Mardi Gras! We met Johnny, the building owner, who blocked off parking spaces 3 steps from the wall. He showed us around his furniture restoration shop called The Renaissance Shop and gave us electric for the RV.
We measured, primed, sketched and got acquainted with the neighborhood. It wasn’t long before the mural took a life of its own. Greetings from NOLA took 5 days to paint, measuring out at 12’ x 18’. We had complete artistic freedom with suggestions from the locals. Mystic Blue Signs contributed their lettering design for the “Greetings From” in the yellow box.
There were multiple parades every day during Mardi Gras. After painting, we walked 6 blocks to St. Charles to enjoy a few hand painted floats tossing out unopened packages of beads by the dozen. Fernando highly recommended going to the legendary Zulu parade where we learned the original Mardi Gras beads were glass and floats used to throw out real coconuts. One thing about Mardi Gras that shocked us was the amount of trash created from all of the plastic throws after all of the parades. Overall, it was definitely a true New Orleans experience that we were glad to be a part of.
One of our favorite things about painting is the public interaction. The impromptu ideas from people passing by turn into the best parts of the murals. In this case, the pelican and the crawfish boil were last minute public suggestions that turned out to be the crowd favorites! We couldn’t be happier with this project and hope that the Greetings from NOLA mural will become a future landmark for years to come.
PS - Can you find the hidden alligator in the mural?
Greetings from NOLA photo prints are available for purchase at our print shop.
N — Masquerade Mask, St. Louis Cathedral
O — St. Louis Cathedral, New Orleans Skyline, Brass Band, Mardi Gras Beads
L — New Orleans Skyline, Brass Band, Mardi Gras Beads
A — Fleur-de-lis, Superdome, Crawfish Boil
Background: Mississippi River, Brown Pelican
Location: 2104 Magazine St. New Orleans, LA 70130