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People Magazine Article Mr. Clean, Fred Radtke, Operation Clean Sweep New Orleans

 

Read about Mr. Fred Radtke of Operation Clean Sweep, featured in People Magazine's article: "Mr. Clean"


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New Orleans City Council Proclamation

Operation Clean Sweep receives Proclamation from the New Orleans City Council

New Orleans City Council Proclamation

Graffiti-fighting paste helps keep historic buildings CLEAN in New Orleans

New Orleans Historic Jazz Buildings treated with graffiti fighting paste Graffiti-fighting paste helps keep historic buildings clean

In the same Central Business District block where a young Louis Armstrong hung out and learned his musical trade a century ago, trumpeter Kenneth Terry and other Treme Brass Band members startled passers-by Thursday morning as they offered local standards and Terry's version of one of Armstrong's signature songs, "What a Wonderful World."   Read More

Read more: Graffiti-fighting paste helps keep historic buildings CLEAN in New Orleans

New Orleans jazz landmarks on Rampart Street scrawled with graffiti

 

413 Rampart St., wide view

Local jazz buffs and preservationists have spent years seeking ways to protect and redevelop a collection of vacant and unimpressive-looking buildings in the 400 block of South Rampart Street that played important roles in the early history of jazz in New Orleans. Now they have a new problem to contend with: giant graffiti that appeared on two of the buildings
The largest markings, reading "ERASE NORTH," cover the second-floor side wall of a former theater where a young Louis Armstrong once won a talent contest.

427 Rampart St., close view

The largest markings, reading "ERASE NORTH," cover the second-floor side wall of a former theater where a young Louis Armstrong once won a talent contest.

Longtime graffiti fighter Fred Radtke said Thursday that he recognizes some of the spray-painted markings as the work of the same vandals who have defaced other some Business District buildings.

He said the vandals used a pressurized container like a fire extinguisher to spray the letters high on the wall, above the roof of an adjoining pizza restaurant.

Radtke's Operation Clean Sweep is offering a $100 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved.

He said he cannot paint over or remove the graffiti without permission from the owners.

The buildings on the lake side of the 400 block of South Rampart might look architecturally undistinguished, but four of them are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and have been declared local historic landmarks.

"There is probably no other block in America with buildings bearing so much significance to the history of our country's great art form, jazz," John Hasse, curator of American music at the Smithsonian Institution, said last year. "It would be a terrible shame if these structures were allowed to disintegrate. They hold the potential to tell remarkable stories about the culture of New Orleans and the music of America."

Yet the buildings are mostly decrepit and vacant and have been threatened with demolition.

413 Rampart St., close viewAt 401-03 S. Rampart stands the former Eagle Cafe and Saloon, built around 1885, where musicians hung out and legendary jazz pioneer Buddy Bolden played. Upstairs was the Odd Fellows Masonic Ballroom, where the young Armstrong might have performed or heard other early jazz greats.

At 413-15 S. Rampart is the former Iroquois Theater, a vaudeville theater and later a movie house. It was built in the first decade of the 20th century. Armstrong won a talent contest there as a teenager.

At 427-31 S. Rampart, built around 1905-1915, is the former tailor shop of the Karnofsky family, Russian Jewish immigrants who became almost surrogate parents to young Armstrong. Their son Morris later opened a music store there called Morris Music, where he sold jazz records. That building also has been defaced with graffiti.

At the Poydras Street end of the block, 445-49 S. Rampart, is the onetime home of the Little Gem Saloon, which featured live music. It was built around 1889.

427 Rampart St., wide viewThe New Orleans Jazz Restoration Society, led by Bob Ice and Bob McIntyre, has sought to buy the former Iroquois Theater and Karnofsky store from their owner, the Meraux Foundation, but has been rebuffed.

The society also has made offers for the Little Gem Saloon building, which has been placed on the list for sale at civil sheriff's auctions several times in recent months but has been withdrawn each time, most recently this week.

The old Eagle Saloon building is controlled by the New Orleans Music Hall of Fame, led by Jerome "PopAgee" Johnson, who bought it from the Meraux Foundation in 2007, partially with city and state money, but there have been no signs of progress on creating the hall of fame he has talked about.

Even if the Ice-McIntyre group or other jazz buffs gain control of the buildings, it is uncertain how they would be redeveloped, although turning them into jazz clubs or museums has been mentioned.

 

Article Credit: Bruce Eggler can be reached at //blog.advance.net/mt-static/html/This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Photo Credit: Rusty Costanza, The Times-Picayune

Graffiti Removal on New Orleans Police Van

BEFORE GRAFFITI REMOVAL
  AFTER GRAFFITI REMOVAL

BEFORE GRAFFITI REMOVAL 

AFTER GRAFFITI REMOVAL

BEFORE GRAFFITI REMOVAL

AFTER GRAFFITI REMOVAL

Award from Superintendent Serpas

Operation Clean Sweep receives award from Superintendent Serpas, chief of the New Orleans Police Department for Outstanding Service!

Award from Superintendent Serpas

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