Artists brighten boarded up businesses in French Quarter

Updated: May. 14, 2020 at 5:49 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Empty streets and boarded up businesses replaced the previously lively French Quarter since March.

Some local artists decided to change that.

"When I first came around the French Quarter and I saw all the plywood, I was just like this is not New Orleans. This is not the place we all love," Bruna Patella said.

So she, and another artist began collaborating under "The Plywood Project."

"Businesses that were boarded up suffering and the freelance creatives that would be hawking their wares all over the French Quarter with their lives hit so hard, it just seemed that there would be an opportunity to combine those two things," Daniel Carlton said.

He says they started raising money online for artists to paint murals on storefronts.

"The hope was always that we would get the plywood down when the businesses would open so that we can sell the work as kind of time capsule memorial of this period of time,"Carlton said.

Patella and Kyleigh Ardoin say they met through the project, and started working on a piece together.

"It basically signifies like you know, even if you've gone through a hard time, you can still come out of it, you know? So a heart of stone can still bloom," Ardoin said.

Drivers, walkers and bikers paused to admire their work.

"I really truly enjoy it," said Aaron Davis, "it speaks to the character of the city itself and the people and what we're made of."

"We've had an immense amount of support just from being out here painting, how many people have like come by just telling us thank you and how they love to see the art," Ardoin said.

After the businesses reopen, the paintings will be auctioned off.

"Restaurants and bars, maybe bars that have patio areas, restaurants to be able to come take these pieces and be able to showcase that they got a little piece of history," Ardoin said.

“We’re defintitely like doing something for the people and make New Orleans bright and shine, even under the rain,” Petalla said.

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