Really?!

This is creating quite an outrage on local FaceBook pages, as well it should.

Was this really necessary?

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Photo by Bernie Murden

UPDATE: Check out Adrastos’ commentary on First Draft. He’s much more eloquent on the subject than I.

UPDATE: According to the Mayor on his G+ page, the sign has been removed. There seems to be some confusion as to whether this is permanent or just until show time tomorrow. Will keep y’all informed.

1/29/13 UPDATE: Visiting for Super Bowl 2013, ‘The Talk’ removes offending sign from Andrew Jackson statue  I notice while the official word from The Talk is that the sign was removed, there was no apparent recognition of the faux pas they committed. C’est la vie.

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Historic French Quarter and Faubourg Tremé defaced with graffiti advertising Coca-Cola products

It is my opinion that the City of New Orleans is being pimped out promoted at an unprecedented level (to a degree that gives rise to what could be described as “neighborhood fatigue”). Such heavy promotion rarely occurs without unintended consequences: for example, illegal, ugly, and damaging guerrilla marketing campaigns. This kind of defacement is unconscionable and must be addressed immediately.

The following is a letter I sent this evening to elected officials and law enforcement; I’m tired, so it was brief and to the point.

Spray-painted stenciled graffiti advertising a Coca-Cola product in conjunction with the NCAA Men’s Final Four event.

Honorable Mayor Landrieu, Councilmembers Palmer and Clarkson, and NOPD 8th District Commander Walls:

The attached photos depict advertising associated with the NCAA Men’s Final Four event for Coca-Cola products — spray-painted on sidewalks and pavement (including flagstones) in the French Quarter and Faubourg Tremé (and perhaps other) neighborhoods in our city. I ask, is this really how we want companies to behave when our city hosts national events?

This advertising is also prohibited by a recently adopted New Orleans ordinance:

Sec. 134-128. – Advertisements on streets, telegraph poles, etc., prohibited.

(a)  It shall be unlawful for any person or entity to post or paint advertisements of any kind on any street, sidewalk, public buildings, utility poles, light standards, street signs, parking meters, trees located in public right-of-way or traffic signal standards.

(b)  Any unlawful posted or painted advertisement on any street, sidewalk, public buildings, utility poles, light standards, street signs, parking meters, trees located in public rights-of-way or traffic signal standard shall be seized and removed.

(c)  It shall be the responsibility of the Department of Sanitation or the Department of Parks and Parkways to devise a system of removal for such signs.

(d)  It shall be unlawful to distribute or cause to be distributed any commercial product samples, commercial advertising brochures, leaflets pamphlets or commercial literature of any kind on the streets and sidewalks of the city, except as otherwise provided in this Code.

(M.C.S., Ord. No. 24452, § 1, 6-2-11)

Source: http://library.municode.com/HTML/10040/level3/PTIICO_CH134SI_ARTIIIRE.html#PTIICO_CH134SI_ARTIIIRE_S134-128ADSTTEPOETPR

Spray-painted stenciled graffiti advertisement on flagstone surface for another Coca-Cola product.

Can you please reply to this email indicating how you intend to address this defacement of public property?

Thank you for your time, consideration, and prompt response.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

It is regrettable that there isn’t an easy solution or means to expedite addressing such issues promptly when they arise. Situations like this will be ongoing concerns; the hope is for action on the part of our City’s Administration that will yield consistent improvement. While some of the factors that cause defacement or damage can be abated, vigilance and timely remedies must be implemented.

Likewise, the consistent enforcement of existing and new ordinances will also determine the degree of success experienced in addressing these issues over time. While private property owners can be compelled to take action to address, for example, structural or blight issues, there is no similar mechanism available to compel the city to address such defacement promptly or focus on enforcement.

Stated simply, the most significant difference between historic beauty and hazardous decay is cumulative, uninterrupted neglect. The continued degradation of the historic heart of New Orleans cannot remain unaddressed, particularly if one considers that our amazing city will be in an ever-increasing spotlight while hosting the 2013 Super Bowl and celebrating its 300th Anniversary in 2018.