Regardez-moi! Monuments of New Orleans
New Orleans, Louisiana
"New Orleans is a place where the quirky rules," said Pierre McGraw, president and founder of the New Orleans Monumental Task Committee, which is trying to preserve at least some of the city's abundant and often eccentric public art.
Even a quick stroll on New Orleans' streets turns up unexpected and odd statues, plaques, and sculptures. According to Pierre, the city initially gave the Committee a list of all of the monuments it knew about, 33 in all. The Committee then went out and conducted a survey by walking around. Its list currently tops 250.
New Orleans began erecting monuments in the 1850s, partly because of the artistic passions of this Mediterranean-like city, and partly because New Orleans has a lot of people and events worth remembering. "There's a lot to commemorate and a lot of characters to honor," said Pierre. Also, New Orleans was an incubator of disease and hard living for many years, so it has a lot of cemeteries and was home to a lot of monument-makers.
Any truncated list of New Orleans public art will dissatisfy completists, but these are the statues, plaques, and monuments that caught our attention and nested in our brains. We hope they survive. The perverse climate and soil of New Orleans, not to mention its occasional cataclysmic storms and hurly-burly politics, have made it a historically insecure place for permanent tributes. But the Monumental Task Committee is working to turn that around.
"This city has done a poor job of taking care of its monuments, that's no secret," said Pierre, "but we have a lot of success stories now."
- Flashy Tombs of Metairie Cemetery
- Golden Joan of Arc
- Andy Jackson: New Orleans' Favorite President
- Jeff Davis: New Orleans' Other Favorite President
- Jefferson Davis Died Here
- Ignatius J. Reilly Statue
- Scrap House: Katrina Memorial
- Monument New Orleans Would Rather Forget
- Nicholas Cage's Pyramid Tomb
- Giant Safety Pin
- Benito Juarez, Hero of Mexico
- Man Who Built New Orleans
- Molly Marine
- Tomb of the Unknown Slave
- Fats Domino and Thomas Edison
- Tree Sculpture Tribute to Music
- Old Man River
- End of the Jefferson Highway