Lonely Planet review
New Orleans has long served as a muse for artists, boasting a funky energy that powers exceptional creativity. The city is best known for its jazzy contribution to American music, but it also has a strong visual arts scene. After Hurricane Katrina, the scene blossomed anew as photographers, sculptors, painters and performance artists turned to the destruction of the Storm for both subject and canvas. Their work helped the city channel its rage, sadness and hopefulness, capturing the evolution of the city's spirit while providing powerful social commentary on the flaws exposed by the Storm. Perhaps the most creative use of the wrecked city as canvas can be found in St Roch, where artists have transformed abandoned, gutted houses into living works of art. At one such house, titled SAFEHOUSE , the artist Mel Chin replaced the front facade with a 10ft circular bank vault door. Inside, the walls are lined with fake hundred-dollar bills hand colored by school children. In one of the poorest neighborhoods in the city, the presence of the giant vault is striking. A series of posters educates visitors of the city’s health problems exacerbated by Hurricane Katrina, especially damage done by lead contamination. The artists are trying to convince Congress to spend $300 million to fix the problems.