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BlaKePONTCHARTRAIN New Orleans Know-it-all Questions for Blake: askblake@gambitweekly.com

Hey Blake,

@SAINTEMARIENOLA

Do you have any information about the mural of the old archaeologist on Frenchmen Street? Each time I see it, I notice it gets tagged more with spray paint, and you can barely see the images anymore.

Gambit > bestofneworleans.com > aPRiL 16 > 2013

Karoline Schleh-Gerowin

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Dear Karoline, I’m sorry to tell you that the mural at 601 Frenchmen Street has been painted over. Rain Webb created the mural, titled Neighborhood Archaeology, in 1986 and it was dedicated July 13. The mural depicted a white-haired, balding man with glasses who was screening dirt and finding pieces of pottery. Also depicted were a book, a vase and a pick — the tools of an archaeologist. It was a tribute to the city’s history and culture. The wall was owned by Philippe Blenet, who was born in Morocco and raised on the French island of Corsica. He was a former deep-sea diver, offshore construction supervisor, industrial photographer and part-time sculptor. He came to America in 1969 and lived in the French Quarter before moving to the Faubourg Marigny. Blenet was renovating an apartment building and bought a small lot near it for parking. One day when he was cleaning up the lot, Webb approached Blenet and asked if he could paint a mural on a big wall at the back of the lot. Webb offered to do it for free because, he said, it was something he had wanted to do for a long time: a picture that would show New Orleans as an archaeological dig. The mural was proceeding nicely except for the face of the main character, the old archaeologist. Then Blenet had an idea. He found a photograph of his father, took it to Webb and the problem was solved. Blenet’s father had wanted to come to America since he was 16, before World War I, but he never fulfilled that dream. He was living in a village in the south of France at the time the mural

Rain Webb painted the outdoor mural Neighborhood Archaeology on the side of a building in 1986 as an homage to New Orleans’ history and culture. The wall has since been painted.

PHOTO COURTESy GREATER NEW ORLEANS ARCHAEOLOGy PROGRAM AND THE UNO DEPARTMENT OF ANTHROPOLOGy

was created. He was very pleased when he was told about his picture being on the wall, saying that after years of dreaming, he finally was living in the United States. Hey Blake,

What is the correct pronunciation of “Metairie”? What is the origin of the word? Daniel Chun Dear Daniel, The correct pronunciation is MEHT-uhree (emphasis on the first syllable), but the word has had different spellings including Maiterie, Meteria and Maitery. And, of course, some locals call it Metry. Metairie is a French word meaning a small farm. The term “metairie” comes from the French word moitie, meaning one-half. In the feudal days of Europe in the 12th century, the term moitoire was used to describe a certain type of French farming relationship in which a landowner would lease some of his property to a farmer, and as rent, the farmer gave the landowner 50 percent of the crops or produce raised on the land. In the early days of colonization, Frenchmen rented land on the high ground, where vegetables were raised. Agriculture was one of the main activities in the Metairie area from the 1760s to the 1930s. The small farmers probably were the first sharecroppers in Louisiana. And it was along Metairie Road that the farmers brought their produce into the city to sell at the markets.

Gambit New Orleans: April 16, 2013  

New Orleans news and entertainment

Gambit New Orleans: April 16, 2013  

New Orleans news and entertainment