City Threatens Sidewalk Art

May 11, 2009

Stop the destruction of sidewalk art!
Read the most recent threat from the City of New Orleans!

Scroll down to read all correspondence since August 2008.

Please help save the public sidewalk art on of St. Peter St.!
Send an email to:

Director of Public Works, Robert Mendozza:
Councilmember at large, Arnie Fielkow: 
District A Council Woman Shelly Midura:
Larry Bagneris, Exec. Director of Human Relations: 

Times Pic Article by Katy Reckdahl: City threatens grieving mother
David’s House previously placed on the demolition list after Katrina.

Read the latest from Squandered Heritage

Read about the January paint party, a collaboration between NoLA Rising and United For Peace in New Orleans, to support Willow Schroeder,

Please report your worst New Orleans sidewalk or street to:
Director of Public Works, Robert Mendozza:

Post a link to your own New orleans worst sidewalk photo
in the comment area below! 


Given the opportunity to address the violence in the city, what would you do?

This is what one woman did, and this is the city’s response.

This story begins in 2001. David Ayo was murdered at his door on July 19th, 2001.  He was born at Mercy hospital and lived and died in the city of New Orleans.

His mother held him in her arms as he bled to death and took his last breath.His blood covered the chalk drawings that children from the neighborhood had made earlier in the day.

After the authorities arrived, they would no longer let her hold her child. They claimed evidence might be disturbed (which they never found anyway). The murderer was never caught.  This mother had to respond to the killing of her child. She couldn’t look at the place where he died and remember his lifeless body.

She decided to paint an angel on the pavement, paint over the blood stains that remained.  To make this the most beautiful place she could so no one could pass here as if it were an anonymous sidewalk like so many others where young men die.

Painting helped her through her grief. “Creation is what counters destruction”, she always says.  And her creativity is aggressive.

People from all parts of the city, country and the world stop here. They are often awestruck and marvel at the extent of her creation. Many people are moved to speak of their loved ones who are dead.  They speak about the violence and murders that happen in our community and what we can do about it. They gain solace and hope in their own grief and are inspired by the time they walk away.

Now one harassing neighbor, new to the block, has been directing vitriol hatred in every form at her disposal. No one can understand why she is this way, but the harassment persists none the less.

She has complained to Publlic Works about the painting on the sidewalk that this mother has done. And Public Works made it an issue.  They sent a certified letter requiring the painting either be removed, or painted over to match the dull gray adjoining sidewalks.

Although the code they cite only refers to keeping sidewalks in repair and maintained in good order and condition (which it is), there is nothing stating that you can not paint your sidewalk or that all sidewalks must look the same.

It seems one hate filled person can use our government to carry out her harassment. Is this the way it goes?  Does hatred win out in this world and the good people bringing positive action in this community become targets?

I truly hope not.  This one mother says, “whatever happens, I’ll make art of it.”

If required to paint over this artwork, perhaps all of the children in the neighborhood will be invited and we can talk about hatred.

And this mother who lost her only son to the violence in this city knows, ”if I can transform David’s murder into art, I can do anything (anything is possible).

Letters from Dept of Public Works Director, Robert Mendoza.

April 30th Letter from Robert Mendoza – NEW

August 13, 2008 letter from Robert Mendoza
November 12, 2008 letter from Robert Mendoza

Letters to Dept of Public Works Director, Robert Mendoza.

Written response to Robert Mendoza, December 16, 2008






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