The New Orleans Art Trail:
11 Important Statues
“New Orleans... a courtesan, not old and yet no longer young, who shuns the sunlight that the illusion of her former glory be preserved.” from “The Tourist” in French Quarter Sketches, by William Faulkner
1. Margaret Haughery (1884), Sculptor: Alexander Doyle
Location: Margaret Place, where Camp and Prytania streets intersect
This was the second non-religious statue of a woman to be erected in the United States. Haughery is famous for opening several orphanages in New Orleans and for devoting her life to charity for the poor and hungry.
2. Molly Marine (1943)
Sculptor: Enrique Alferez, one of New Orleans’ most renowned sculptors known for his art deco work in City Park
Location: Elks Place neutral ground, between Tulane Avenue and Canal Street
Material: cement, the only material available during World War II
The Molly Marine statue was the first U.S. monument of a woman in service uniform, made to recruit women during World War II. This is the original Molly Marine statue, which has replicas in South Carolina and in Virginia.
3. Ignatius Reilly (1996)
Sculptor: William Ludwig
Location: Canal Street, in front of the Chateau Bourbon Hotel (former site of the D.H. Holmes department store)
Ignatius Reilly is the protagonist of John Kennedy Toole’s Confederacy of Dunces. This statue shows him in the novel’s opening scene where he waits for his mother under the D.H. Holmes clock. New Orleans actor John “Spud” McConnell – host of WWL’s “Talk Gumbo” – played Ignatius in a stage version of the novel and was the model for the statue.
4. Andrew Jackson (1856)
Sculptor: Clark Mills
Location: Jackson Square
Honoring the Battle of New Orleans hero, this equestrian statue is one of three identical ones made by Mills, created when there weren’t many statues with horses standing only on their back legs. During the Civil War, when Union soldiers occupied New Orleans, the phrase, “The Union must and shall be preserved” was inscribed into the monument’s base. At the time, the Union often used this phrase, mimicking Jackson’s support of federal supremacy over state sovereignty.
5. G.T. Beauregard (1915)
Sculptor: Alexander Doyle
Location: in front of City Park’s entrance
Known as the “Napoleon in Gray,” Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregarde was a Louisiana-born Confederate general during the Civil War. The statue refers to him as G.T. Beauregard – rather than P.G.T. – because he didn’t use his first name often. After the war, he became the first director of the Louisiana lottery.
6. Joan of Arc
Date: replica given to New Orleans in 1958, original erected 1874 at Place des Pyramides, Paris
Sculptor: Emmanuel Frémiet
Location: where North Peters and Decatur streets meet in front of the French Market
Material: golden bronze
The people of France gave this statue to the city of New Orleans in 1958 and it was erected in ’72. It was originally in front of the International Trade Mart but was moved in 1999.
7. Simón Bolívar (1957)
Sculptor: Abel Vallmitjana
Location: on the Basin Street neutral ground, between Canal and St. Louis streets
This is one of three monuments to Latin American heroes in the city. (the others are Benito Juárez and Francisco Morazán). It was a gift to the city of New Orleans from the people of Venezuela. The area is called the Garden of Americas, former Mayor “Chep” Morrison’s idea to symbolize friendship between New Orleans and the countries of Latin America.
8. Winston Churchill (1977)
Sculptor: Ivor Roberts-Jones
Location: circle in front of the Hilton New Orleans Riverside on Poydras Street
International Rivercenter, the company that built the Hilton, donated this statue to New Orleans. Its co-managing partner James S. Coleman Jr. was an honorary British Consul for Louisiana.
9. Robert E. Lee (1884)
Sculptor: Alexander Doyle
Location: Lee Circle
The Robert E. Lee statue stands atop a 60-foot marble Doric column in Lee Circle, facing the North. Before the monument was built, the area was known as Tivoli Circle.
10. Sacred Heart of Jesus (early 19th century)
Location: St. Anthony’s Garden behind St. Louis Cathedral
The statue was built as a memorial to New Orleans banker J.E. Merilh and his wife. At night, floodlights cast a remarkable shadow of the statue onto the cathedral. The statue lost a forefinger and thumb during Hurricane Katrina.
11. Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville (1955)
Sculptor: Angela Gregory
Location: where N. Peters and Decatur streets meet, between Conti and St. Louis streets
Bienville founded New Orleans in 1718 and served as governor of Louisiana for four years in total. The statue was moved from the Union Passenger Train Terminal to its current location in 1997. The monument shows Bienville with Father Athanase – the priest who accompanied him – and an unknown American Indian.