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Corner Businesses in New Orleans and the Naïve Commercial Art of Lester Carey

Corner Businesses in New Orleans and the Naïve Commercial Art of Lester Carey

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Published by Anthony
from Preservation Technology Spring 2009, Master in Preservation Studies, Tulane School of Architecture, Professor Heather Knight
from Preservation Technology Spring 2009, Master in Preservation Studies, Tulane School of Architecture, Professor Heather Knight

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Categories:Topics, Art & Design
Published by: Anthony on Jul 29, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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04/15/2013

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Corner Businesses inNew Orleans and theNaïve Commercial Artof Lester Carey
Anthony DelRosarioPreservation TechnologyProfessor Heather KnightMaster in Preservation StudiesTulane School of Architecture
 
1 PRST 6720 - Preservation Technology Professor Heather Knight April 24, 20009Anthony DelRosario – Masters of Preservation Studies - Tulane School of Architecture
Introduction: Comfort in Decay
Looking at New Orleans after the levee failures after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 issimilar to rolling over a fallen tree that has been decaying. One sees countless thingsthat were previously hidden from view – things that some believe beautiful while othersmay find ugly. These could be a house covered in cat’s claws vines (Figure 1), anabandoned business with weathered signs (Figure 2), or a burned out car with graffiti(Figure 3). I am in the group of those that see the unfortunate beauty in the destructionaround us in New Orleans.For many months after my return to the post-disaster city, I was in a funk from afive year relationship that ended as a Katrina casualty. I rode my bicycle to and fromwork along St. Charles Avenue in pensive reflection. After a few months, I wasintroduced to Flickr by a friend, Christopher Kirsch, who had been riding his scooteraround the Ninth Ward taking photographs of po-boy sandwiches on the many cornerbuildings that served as the neighborhood store. Seeing his photographs and his nudgeto join Flickr helped knock me out of my post-Katrina funk. He also invited me to joinhim in an art project of painting smashed cans to attach to telephone poles around thecity which he called the Can Project.
Fig. 1. covered house in Central City Fig. 2. Leroy’s Place in Gert Town
 
Fig. 3. abandoned car in St. Claude
 
2 PRST 6720 - Preservation Technology Professor Heather Knight April 24, 20009Anthony DelRosario – Masters of Preservation Studies - Tulane School of Architecture
These new artistic endeavors were the spark to jump-start a creative therapy tokick me out of my doldrums. Instead of taking the usual route of St. Charles Avenuefrom the Lower Garden District to Tulane University and back, I began to experimentwith my course. For a while, the new route was still near St. Charles – Carondelet,Baronne, and Dryades. Eventually I found my way further and further into Central City – into many neighborhoods that I had not been. My new muse of capturing theunfortunate sights of the flooded neighborhoods led me to places that I would neverhave ridden my bicycle before the storm. I now biked through the deserted C. J. PeeteHousing Projects, also known as the Magnolia Projects. There I found interestingmurals (Figures 6 & 7), decaying reminders of residents (Figure 4), and hidden street art(Figure 5).Throughout Central City, I also discovered many abandoned commercialbuildings, including many corner stores that had pictures and lettering similar to thosethat my friend had found in other parts of the city. By comparing photographs, weconcluded that a single artist had painted many of these signs. Fortunately the artist
Fig. 4. C.J. Peete Housing Project Fig. 5. C.J. Peete Housing Project

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