There are five statues of a bearded man dressed in rabbit costumes on top of the building next to the New Orleans Mission on Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard. Do you know what they are and why they are there?
I know it's an odd place to find a rabbit, let alone five of them, but the bunny men now live on the top of the house owned by Gary and Elizabeth Eckman. The Eckmans recently moved from New York to New Orleans and were lucky enough to acquire custody of the group of sculptures.
In 2010, the bunny men were temporarily displayed on the top of the old Falstaff Brewery. They needed a new home, and the Eckmans won a bid for the sculptures; so the bunnies now peer down on another street from another rooftop perch.
The sculpture is the work of artist Alex Podesta and is called City Watch. Podesta's sculpture was among a variety of artworks that were part of a joint public works initiative by the Arts Council of New Orleans and the Joan Mitchell Foundation.
The five identical rabbits are replicas of the artist dressed in a costume. The rabbits on the rooftop are supposed to commemorate the time when desperate people were trapped on their roofs when the city flooded after Hurricane Katrina. It's also been said that the rabbit men could be waiting to be rescued or simply are watching the city's recovery. They aren't happy as they look down, but perhaps the bunny costumes indicate that imagination is the key to recovery. And because they are all alike, the bunny men could be seen as Everyman.