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What happened to the mural depicting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the corner of Oretha Castle Haley and Martin Luther King boulevards? 

Blake Pontchartrain: N.O. Know It All

Hey Blake,

There used to be a mural depicting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the background of a city map on the corner of Oretha Castle Haley and Martin Luther King boulevards. The mural was attached to the side of a building right behind the bus stop. A few months ago, work began on the building and the mural was removed. Where is it now?

Art lover

Dear Art lover,

  The building at 1427 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., once a furniture store, has been transformed into "The Building at 1427 O.C. Haley." When renovating the building, owners Christian and Connie Labat removed the two murals painted by artist Bruce "Shakur" White. The one facing Martin Luther King Boulevard honored the legacy of King and explained the contribution of internationally renowned sculptor Frank Hayden, who created an unusual oval sculpture on the neutral ground across the street in 1976, when that space was dedicated as Martin Luther King Walk. Hayden, a Xavier University graduate, was a professor at Southern University in Baton Rouge. The mural that was on the Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard side of the building was titled Defend the Peace. A third mural, this one depicting a Mardi Gras Indian, remains on the Martin Luther King Boulevard side of the building.

  Display windows have been installed where the murals used to be and passersby now can see local artists' works on display inside. The Labats say the two Shakur murals are in a secure place. Possible plans for the murals have been discussed, including one to display them on the third floor of the building. Connie Labat says the renovated building will feature live music, films and theater — and will always have art displayed.

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