Bookish Murals

Libraries are not only wonderful, calm places to read and explore books, but also to see murals. Here’s one in the Earlscourt Library in Toronto. This is an incredible story because the murals, originally painted by Doris McCarthy in 1932, were painted over during a renovation. The locals remembered the original murals and how much delight they brought. They raised $12,000 to uncover just one mural.

Toronto Library murals, via National Post, as seen on Art Is Everywhere

Toronto Library murals, via National Post

Today the entire set of murals can be seen thanks to $2.54 million restoration. Lesson: “modernization” shouldn’t forget intrinsic value.

Toronto Library Murals, via National Post, as seen on Art Is Everywhere

Here’s another mural that had long been covered up in a former public library in New Orleans. Dr. Sylvi Beaumont purchased the structure and didn’t know about the murals until floodwaters caused damage and renovation efforts were started. The murals of Edward Schoenberger were of the historical progress of the written word from caveman days to 1941. These murals were painted over six months on one long stretch of canvas and installed as a commission through the Works Progress Administration. I recognized his style, which was popular during the time, also from the murals in the Sazerac Bar at the Rooselvelt Hotel. In fact, Schoenberger contributed to painting these as well. It is really compelling to read more and see this video about how they came their vibrant rebirth. The artist restoring them did an excellent, painstaking and thoughtful job.

schoenberger mural uncovered, Times Picayune, as seen on Art Is Everywhere

Schoenberger murals uncovered, Times Picayune

Canal street building housing Ed Schoenberger's murals, Nola.com, as seen on Art Is Everywhere

Canal street building housing Ed Schoenberger's murals, Nola.com

Sazerac

Normally, I wouldn’t start off the week with a post about cocktails but this is a hectic one with back to back on site work and printings for casart coverings.

Life has been so crazy busy that I never really fully posted about the fun stuff during my recent trip to New Orleans. We were in meetings most of the time but we did take a break to have a drink at the Sazerac Bar in the now named Roosevelt Hotel, originally name for Teddy Roosevelt. It was once called the Fairmont, where I remember the Hermes Ball used to take place. It closed after Hurricane Katrina with some water and storm damage. Fortunately the original murals in the Sazerac bar were protected with plywood. The hotel has been fully restored back to its original grand style and it is up an running well, despite the economy. New Orleans remember experienced its own economic downturn way before our current recession. It can only go up from there. Katrina really did a number on my city and many naysayers said it would never come back. I really disliked getting those kinda phone calls afterwards asking if I my family and I were alright and then in the same breadth asking, “do you think it will ever come back?” I got caller ID after that. Clearly some folks that I hadn’t ironically heard from in forever didn’t know New Orleans or those from there very well. We don’t give up. We persevere.

I’m happy to report it has come back; although it is still a slow road to full recovery. Living there daily you know the difference. A tourist never would and that’s good because they are there to experience things that were never really damaged, like the French Quarter. I was very glad to see this article in the philly.com blog about New Orleans’ resurgence and the Sazerac Bar is featured. It’s a great place with old-world charm to grab a drink or better yet a sazerac cocktail — the official drink of New Orleans.

Sazerac Bar in New Orleans\' Roosevelt Hotel via Philly.com