Those who appreciate Marigny’s bohemian grit were surprised Wednesday to find that the landmark, once covered in tangled murals and graffiti tags, was mostly covered in white paint.
The long-closed Frankie and Johnny furniture store at 2600 St. Claude Avenue on Franklin Avenue suddenly glistened like an iceberg in the setting sun. Aerosol artwork by Crude Things, Skela, J McKay and other street painters has been erased.
According to Zella V. May, a real estate agent representing the owner, the reason for the elimination was simple. The building is for sale, and prospective buyers don’t find the street art particularly appealing.
The paintings painted along the front of the building and along the Franklin Avenue side were a random hodgepodge, not a “uniform work of art”.
drawn with permission
According to NOLA Mural Project founder Neal Morris, four or five murals were painted on the building in 2018 with the permission of the then-property owner. Morris became a street art activist in 2019. He began pairing painters with property owners who would allow them to paint murals on their buildings. The NOLA Mural Project ended up placing a number of outdoor paintings throughout the city.
Morris is philosophical about getting rid of the artwork on the Frankie & Johnny building. “It’s a shame, but that’s the nature of the game,” he said.
Morris said he can’t remember exactly who gave the NOLA Mural Project permission to use the old furniture store as a canvas, but he was happy to have the opportunity and asked the property’s owner We reserve the right to repaint.
“Lost those[murals]doesn’t mean someone is the bad guy,” he said.
After they were painted, the permitted murals were soon swarmed with other rebel tags and graffiti renderings.
In 2019, months after the artwork for the NOLA mural project appeared on a property at 2600 St. Claude Ave., Trapani Offspring Beneficiaries, a Missouri-based developer specializing in affordable housing Sold to MACO Properties for $1,295,000. examiner’s office.
Some neighbors complain that long-disused buildings have become a haven for squatters and drug users. Artist Schuyler Fain, who lives nearby, said he had heard gunshots coming from the building. And also the scream of rape. Police once found a dead body in an abandoned cave, he said.
May said the chaotic impression among neighbors was one reason the building was plastered. The owner recently spent thousands on new fences, new garage doors, and other security features along one side of the property, cutting the asking price by $300,000. A portion of the wall collapsed, but was quickly repaired.
Not all of the Frankie and Johnny murals were taken down Wednesday. Downstream of the building, a 500-foot second-row parade mural by artist Henry Lipkis from 2016 was labeled “Good taste.” “It’s been left pristine because it has a “great view,” May said.
The muralist whose work was featured did not respond to a request for comment. There is also no MACO property.
Meanwhile, in what seems like a mere coincidence, the old Beauty Plus building at 1101 Elysian Fields Avenue was also recently painted white. Like previous Frankie & Johnny stores, Beauty Plus was completely covered in street art murals by Fat Kids from Outer Space, Ceaux, Mr. Balloon Hands and more.
After 20 years on the corner of St. Claude Avenue, the beauty retailer’s management announced it would close in 2019 due to rising rents.
The property is owned by Vu&Tran LLC, according to appraisal office records.
Upon completion of the ongoing $163,000 renovation, based on construction permit scrutiny, the old Beauty Plus will be transformed into a food court called Elysian Market, which may include seven restaurant stalls, a central sushi bar and Beer Island. there is.
As was the case with Frankie & Johnny, the disappearance of Beauty Plus caused a stir among those who feared the St. Claude Cloisters were becoming too classy.
Tyler Van Dyke, whose NOLA Art Walk offers tours of outdoor artwork in downtown New Orleans, said the mural in the Beauty Plus building was said to have been created in favor of the business. As it is a store, many of the works on the St. Claude Street side express “strong images of women.”
Van Dyke said he regretted the loss of the artwork at both locations on St. Claude Avenue.Artist J of the face of a young black man with sunflowers at the Frankie & Johnny location. McKay’s mural was the artwork that set his career on fire, Van Dyke said.
If there’s a silver lining, according to Van Dyke, it’s that property owners can learn how to better communicate with artists when change comes.
“For better or for worse, it’s an opportunity to educate and debate this issue,” Van Dyke said.
Not surprisingly, by Friday, the now-whitened former Beauty Plus building was already tagged with aerosol graffiti.
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