our very first cigar-box guitar
“We put the Unity in commUnity”
Post Hurricane Ida 2021
8ft X 20ft mural on corrugated plastic
Located on the 7700 block of West Main Street
Painted and installed by Amanda Percle and Christopher Stevens
Community comes from the Latin word “communitas” which means “public spirit” and is defined as: a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common, or as a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals. Unity is not the root word but it can be used to describe the public spirit the people of the bayou communities have exhibited in response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Ida.
Initially, as a photographer, I naturally wanted to capture the destruction and the change in our landscape. However, the wreckage is not what defines my hometown or it’s people. Unity does. Witnessing that unity started during the storm when, as roofs were ripped off, neighbors offered shelter. I continued to witness that unity when the storm cleared and immediately our officers and first responders were out saving lives and protecting property through mountains of unsafe debris. When dozens of nonprofits in our area stepped up day after day providing necessary supplies to the under reached and hardest hit portions of our parish, I saw that unity. These are just a few examples from the very long list of ways our people are there for each other. So, I decided to focus on the positive.
Utilizing bright and bold colors I painted puzzle people in rows symbolizing the army of people that provide that ray of light during our darkest hours. I chose the word community with a special emphasis on Unity to define what I witnessed in those hours. Our struggle is not over. Installing this mural was inspired by our “helpers” but it was made to inspire everyone. I want the viewer to feel that public spirit I have witnessed so often. I want our people to drive by and see it and remember they are a part of our very unique community. It is my hope that this mural will inspire even more Unity in the hard days to come.
I would like to thank Beryl and John Amedee for the contribution of panels as canvas, the Houma Downtown Development Corporation for sponsoring the paint and acquiring permission for the space, and Mike Slage with the Bayou Regional Arts Council for transporting the panels to the installation location. Your support in my artistic endeavors is greatly appreciated.