About one year ago, I took a trip to the now decimated Florida Housing Projects on the outskirts of the Bywater. Rumor was that the development - abandoned since Katrina - was a hot spot for graffiti artists. What we found, however, was not a public sketchpad for aspiring painters, but a cohesive body of work organized by local artist Brandan Odums. Murals decorated every inch of canvas on the grounds - inside and out - most illustrating civil rights leaders and other messages of inspiration (click here to see images). Titled Project Be (based on a verse by hip-hop artist Common), the area was deemed unsafe by the city and quickly restricted to the public.
The Florida Housing Development was demolished earlier this year, but Odums' work lives on. Around that same time, he and a team of artists were commissioned by the owners of a deserted Algiers apartment complex to recreate the motivational motifs of Project Be on the property. The new display, called Exhibit Be, was unveiled to the public for one day only last month as part of New Orleans art exposition Prospect 3. Though no longer open for viewing, the installation remains the largest street art display in the South. Below are a few images of the project.
New Orleans' wasn't the only Louisiana city to get it's own professionally commissioned public art mural during November. Eight internationally-renowned graffiti artists converged on the Baton Rouge Museum of Public Art (MOPA), designing a sprawling masterwork completed on Nov. 9. I've included a few images of the painting, titled "Egoless," below. If you are a fan of street art, I highly suggest you check out MOPA's Facebook page. Baton Rouge - much like Atlanta's Living Walls project - is hiring graffiti artists to beautify developments throughout the capital with some breath-taking results.