NEWS///STREET LIFE///BANKSY PAINTS NEW ORLEANS AS KATRINA MEMORIAL

August 29, 2008  |  Banksy, Feature, Graffiti, New Orleans, News, Street Art

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Banksy's art & life intersect in the lower ninth ward...

One wouldn't normally expect to find the world's most Googled street artist lurking among the ruins of the lower ninth ward in NEW ORLEANS, but that's just where renegade stencil artist BANKSY has been holed up for the past week, covering the desiccated city with art to commemorate the anniversary of KATRINA, the hurricane that killed 1800 people when it struck the coastal city in 2005. Said Banksy of the operation, "Three years after Katrina I wanted to make a statement about the state of the clean-up operation,” and attested that the city's levee wall offered "the best painting surface in the state of Louisiana.” However, the Bristol Bomber seemed to feel some pangs of regret in his action when he added, “...I wanted to highlight the state of the clean-up operation. Only later did it dawn on me that if you choose to do this by drawing all over their stuff, you’re actually only slowing down that clean-up operation.” Of course, in the art world, timing is everything, and as the roving stencil demigod wraps up his project, the city braces for the onslaught of oncoming tropical storm Gustav which threatens to again devestate the slowly healing city. Hopefully, once residents realize what's been painted on their doorstop, a quick sawsall session and a little eBay savvy will net them enough to build a mansion in the French Quarter. HAVE A LOOK:

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“I looked out the window of the taxi on the drive into New Orleans and remarked, ‘There’s still so much devastation, I can’t believe they haven’t cleaned this mess up,’ to which the driver stared at me and said, ‘This part of the city wasn’t affected by the hurricane, its always looked like this.’” —BANKSY

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“I came to New Orleans to do battle with the Gray Ghost, a notorious vigilante who’s been systematically painting over any graffiti he can find with the same shade of gray paint since 1997. Consequently, he’s done more damage to the culture of the city than any section five hurricane could ever hope to achieve.” —BANKSY

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After a long week of stencil spraying, a decidedly unmasked Banksy kicks back on Burbon Street with a hand grenade and a smile...

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