Art warehouse with powerful murals
BMike's 35,000 square foot warehouse studio is filled with his incredible work, but his murals also creep out onto the walls outside his warehouse. His massive yellow work depicting a little girl, affectionately known as the Studio Be Girl, was more recently joined by a bright blue wall with a young boy around the other side of the warehouse. BMike, who is arguably the most famous muralist in the city, tries to encourage wider street art community and New Orleans community as a whole. He has partnered with groups of student artists on many of his works and many of his pieces either have a social message or a local story. He also has allowed other local artists to use his wall space to hone their craft across the street from where Studio Be Girl gazes down on passers-by. His studio is open Wednesday through Saturday between 2:00 and 8:00, and really shouldn't be missed.
Beauty Plus Murals
The old Beauty Plus store is now covered in art
When the owners of Beauty Plus were having issues with taggers, they reached out to New Orleans native Ceaux to cover part of their wall in a mural because taggers tend to respect artists enough to not deface their work. After his mural went up, the taggers left their marks on other parts of the building, but never touched his piece. While the mural was doing its job, the owner and many shoppers felt that the mural didn't fully capture the diversity of women who shopped at the store. In order to fix this, they got as many artists as possible to fill the remaining space with female focused works. Beauty Plus's rent almost tripled at the beginning of 2019 due to gentrification and they could no longer to afford to operate in the same location that they had for almost 20 years. So while the business is gone, the beautiful works they helped bring to the neighborhood still remain.
Most famous remaining Banksy in the city
In 2008, Banksy came to New Orleans and did about 15 works around the city related to Hurricane Katrina. Most of the pieces were defaced or removed immediately, with only two visible in their original locations today. Umbrella Girl, the most famous remaining work, has been vanadalised and restored multiple times, and even made it through an attempted heist. The brazen robbers started drilling the piece out of the wall in broad daylight until they were chased away by vigilant neighbors. The Graffiti Eradicator is still visible in its original location while The Looters has been cut, painstakingly restored, and moved to its new home in the lobby of the International House Hotel. Before you go, be sure to take a look at the koi fish on the ground. Jeremy Novy (@jeremynovy) began painting these fish around the city and the country after he became inspired on a trip to China in 2006. The koi represent the trials that people go through in life and their ability to swim against the stream and keep going. They are often in groups of three because it is a lucky number in China representing the three stages of life, birth, marriage, and death. No matter how many he groups together, you will never find a group of four koi because that is an unlucky number in the Chinese culture.
An Ode to Dr. John
MTO's mural of the local music legend
The six time Grammy winner and member of the Rock and Roll hall of fame recorded more than 20 albums, all heavily influenced by his hometown. This large mural is by French aerosoloist MTO who has painted many murals in the city.
NOLA Art Walk
Colorful street art tour
This unique tour shows off a side of the city most tourists don't encounter. Starting at the beginning of Mural Mile, this tour is filled with stories and information about the art you are seeing. Not only will you leave with the beautiful photos you take, but also with a booklet filled with the Instagram information of the artists whose work you've just seen.
NOLA Art Walk
One Time In New Orleans
The fathers of jazz by BMike
This mural of Buddy Bolden and his band was painted by local artist BMike based off of the only known picture of the musician. In fact, there aren't even any recordings of Bolden's music. The influential musician had a mental breakdown at the age of 30 and was diagnosed with schizophrenia. He spent the rest of his life in an mental institution, until he died at the age of 54. The cornetist was buried in an unmarked pauper's grave in Holt Cemetery and it wasn't until the 90's that a monument was erected in his honor. Though it seemed like the world all but forgot about one of the most influential musicians of all time, his contemporaries made sure his memory lived on. Jelly Roll Morton recorded Buddy Bolden Blues and called him “the most powerful trumpet in the world” while Louis Armstrong, who was just a boy when Bolden was institutionalized, said that he was “too good for his time.” BMike, who used his friend's faces as the basis for Bolden's band members, intentionally left the halo around the king of jazz's head incomplete in order to symbolize his struggles with mental illness that cut his legendary career short.