I was in the Whitney Hotel on Poydras Street and there is a mural in the bar that I think is a comedic bank robbery scene, but in the mural are characters like The Three Stooges and Laurel and Hardy. What's the story on this mural?
The mural in the restaurant known as Bistreaux at the Bank, inside the Whitney Hotel at 610 Poydras St., comes from the fertile imagination of artist Tony Green. He is a New Orleans native whose artistic talents are on view in several spots around town, including murals at Ye Olde College Inn (relocated from the artwork's original home at Mid City Lanes Rock 'n' Bowl), as well as Ralph's on the Park and the Holiday Inn on Loyola Avenue.
Green created the mural at Whitney Hotel in 2007. He drew his inspiration from the building's original use: a bank. The seven-story building, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, dates back to 1909. It originally housed a Metropolitan Bank branch and in 1929 became a Whitney Bank. Part of the building is still a Whitney branch, though the structure's main use is as a hotel and restaurant.
The building's former owner, Robert Weinmann, commissioned Green to paint a mural on a wall that separates the bank from the restaurant. It was Green's idea to depict a bank robbery in progress and to paint familiar movie and comedy characters into the scene, including Laurel and Hardy, W.C. Fields, The Three Stooges and Ben Turpin, as well as a "bunch of babes and bandits," as Green described it to Gambit.
As he often does, Green also painted himself into the mural. Also depicted are Weinmann and his family (peeking into the bank entrance, watching the heist unfold), as well as the restaurant's original chef, Bobby Roth of the Steak Knife, which once had a location there. Dressed in his chef's whites, Roth is shown unsuccessfully trying to withdraw money from one of the tellers while the robbery is in progress.