Mystical, Magical New Orleans

New Orleans, LA | 1993

MYSTICAL, MAGICAL NEW ORLEANS is a 100 ft x 8 ft bas relief covering a three-mile stretch of the London Avenue Canal. It was commissioned as a monument that commemorated the African American community in New Orleans, but then racist power players hindered the installation of Akinlana's original design. To circumvent this, Akinlana reworked his vision to be more multicultural. This ingenious outmaneuvering resulted in the beautiful Mystical, Magical New Orleans, which features several notable New Orleans icons including Marie Laveau, Voodoo Queen of New Orleans, and Damballa Wedo, the python, dancers from Congo Square, and modern day jazz musicians in the birthplace of jazz. It stands as a portrayal of the unique cultural entities that New Orleans is world-renowned for.

MYSTICAL, MAGICAL NEW ORLEANS was created to beautify the flood walls that are essential in protecting the city. Due to engineering concerns, Akinlana had to keep the design of the relief simple. The relief is very low; nowhere on the relief is deeper than one and a quarter inch. The commission represents elements of the unique flavor of New Orleans, which makes up the the "social gumbo" of the famous city. Commissioned by the Orleans Levee Board and the Arts Council of New Orleans.