P.0.1 December 29, 2008Posted by Mark Folse in 504, cryptic envelopment, Dancing Bear, Federal Flood, New Orleans, NOLA, Toulouse Street, We Are Not OK.
Tags: Desire Street Academy, Desire Street Ministries
I have not made the Prospect.1 art pilgrimage. I am a bad boy. I am tremendously glad that P.1 has occurred, and thank every artist, every visitor, every underwriter. To you all I offer this non-P.1 piece of art, call it P.0.1, a bit of genuine New Orleans. I first posted the below on Wet Bank Guide Dec. 3, 2005 under the title Child of Desire. I would add only this, to the second paragraph: There is nothing P.1 can tell you until you have seen this panel, have understood that this is from Before, and that I believe it was meant to survive where no other panel did for a reason.
This unsigned panel was the sole surviving piece of a student mural at Desire Street Academy, part of Desire Street Ministries. Photo courtesy of Steve Crow, who took this while volunteering in the area. I think this speaks of Katrina and New Orleans in a way nothing else I have seen can approach.
Until you understand this panel, there’s is nothing that George Rodrigue’s Blue Dog or displays of Toxic Art can do to save you. You first have to understand the despair the people of the Dome and Convention Center sometimes knew long before Aug. 28. You have to understand the despair of coming home to a ruined home on a wasted street in a neighborhood destroyed. You have to understand the despair of watching America abandon the city, hundreds of thousands of it citizens. You have to understand that New Orleans is on it’s own.
Until this young man and everyone like him can lift up their faces and stand and take the first steps toward the future, there will be no recovery. It doesn’t matter if those steps are taken in New Orleans or Houston or Atlanta, there will be no healing until he and all like him are healed.
There will be no rebuilding until this artist comes home to stay, and a decade from now takes his children down to the ‘hood to see this piece once again mounted. There will be no recovery until he can stand before this and say, proudly, I made that, out of this place and the life of this place, just like I made the house you live in and the life you have in this city, just like I made you someone who can be proud, living in a place to be proud of. Out of despair you can make something beautiful.