News > Blog > The Pythian to Unveil BMike Mural: Depicts Iconic New Orleans Couple

The Pythian to Unveil BMike Mural: Depicts Iconic New Orleans Couple

By Green Coast on 2 May 2018

AP Tureaud Jr.
View Larger Image

AP Tureaud Jr.

Much of New Orleans history has never been fully connected to the African American community with large swaths of collective memory mostly forgotten. Racism remains the main culprit behind this disenfranchisement, but there are opportunities, as Alexander P. Tureaud Jr. puts it, to correct the record.

“A lot of the history of the civil rights era isn’t taught in schools,” Tureaud says. “So I think it’s wonderful to see a building like The Pythian so thoughtfully restored, returned to the community, and to have artwork there that represents this time in New Orleans.”

The artwork Tureaud is specifically referring to is a mural of his parents, iconic civil rights attorney A.P. Tureaud and his wife Lucille, that renowned local artist Brandan “BMike” Odums painted on a wall in the opening-soon Pythian Market. The Pythian’s developers—Green Coast, ERG Enterprises and Crescent City Community Land Trust the work, which will be unveiled on May 9 at 5:30 pm in The Pythian first floor.

“My parents first met in the Pythian Temple rooftop jazz garden in the late 1920s,” recalls Tureaud, a civil rights activist in own right who became Louisiana State University’s first black undergraduate. “There was a social group of young black professionals, which my parents were a part of, and they often met there because it was a hot spot with great bands.”

By the time Tureaud was born in 1936, however, the original owners, the Colored Knights of Pythias, had been forced to sell the building, and for Tureaud, The Pythian was more the stuff of lore than reality. Decades later, while serving on the board of the civil rights organization, The Plessy Ferguson Foundation, he found out about The Pythian’s redevelopment.

“At first I was worried that it could be developed without any thought to its history, but it’s been an incredible experience,” Tureaud says. “I can’t think of any other building that has gone through this kind of transformative effect.”

The mural of his parents brings it home for him, and having Odums create the work shows how The Pythian is bridging its past to the present and future. Tureaud says he had numerous conversations with the artist about his parents before Odums started the piece, sending photos showing the couple when they were young.

“I feel a spiritual connection with Brandan,” Tureaud says. “What he’s doing to enhance and promote the history and art of New Orleans is phenomenal. I’m the old school, and he’s the new school.”

Categories: Miscellaneous

Post a Comment