Banksy Storms New Orleans: Banksy vs.. The Gray Ghost

Banksy Storms New Orleans: Banksy vs.. The Gray Ghost

I came to New Orleans to do battle with the Gray Ghost.


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On August 28th 2008, the day before the third anniversary of the storm, the controversial British, urban guerilla graffiti artist Banksy travelled to New Orleans


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His plan: to hit the place fast and have his easily recognizable stencil based works in place to commemorate the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

“Three years after Katrina I wanted to highlight the state of the clean up operation”


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I looked out the window of the taxi on the drive into New Orleans and remarked “There’s still so much devastation I can’t believe they haven’t cleaned this mess up”, to which the driver stared at me and said “This part of the city wasn’t affected by the hurricane-it’s always looked like this.””


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Almost immediately his work started to appear on the buildings and the levees across New Orleans.

Some were reminiscent of the traditions that were associated with the city.


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Some were political.


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Some related to the hurricane


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But all contained that characteristic Banksy sense of humour.


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To some people other works may have been confusing. Why were there pictures of a man with a paint roller obliterating graffiti?


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Fred Radtke knew the answer to this, because he was the figure in the painting. Fred was the man who had been dubbed “The Gray Ghost”

Banksywrote “I came to New Orleans to do battle withthe Gray Ghost, a notorious vigilante who’s been systematically painting over any he can find with the same kind of grey paint since 1997.
Consequently he’s done more damage to the culture than any section five hurricane could ever hope to achieve.”

And this point of view had some support.
One internet user under the name of “chocolate Alaska” commented “….every time I see a flick of someone fighting the grey-ghost, I get a warm feeling of hope inside. Seeing Banksy on board just multiplied that feeling exponentially.”

What Fred thought of this may never be known, and had Banksy and The Gray Ghost met that would certainly have hit the headlines!

Banksys final words on the undertaking:

Three years after Katrina I wanted to highlight the state of the clean up operation. Only afterwards did it dawn on me that if you choose to do this by drawing all over their stuff, you’re actually slowing down that clean-up operation.”

Not everybody agreed

Perhaps the most interesting comment that was made of the whole incident, was on this picture, and was by someone who, from their words, was probably a local resident.


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“somehow this picture symbolizes the situation in the lower 9th ward for me: it’s gonna be hard and it’s gonna take much longer to rebounce after katrina – will it ever be what it was before?”

Other articles by C. Jordan on Banksy:-

There are MANY more articles on Banksy by this writer, including

Banksy in Bethlehem: Art and The Barrier Between Two Nations

Urban Graffiti as Art: Banksy

 All can be found at 

http://thebanksyblog.blogspot.com/

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21 Comments
larcha, posted this comment on Oct 10th, 2008

very interesting

Carolyn Garofalo, posted this comment on Oct 10th, 2008

Very Nice!!!!! It’s been awhile since I have been to New Orleans. Those paintings capture me.

goodselfme, posted this comment on Oct 10th, 2008

Thank you for this post. It is most enlightening.

Routledge, posted this comment on Oct 10th, 2008

Man I wanna see more of this guy AND wanna meet him good job:)

Lost in Arizona, posted this comment on Oct 10th, 2008

You have me addicted at this point.

Kevin R Carr, posted this comment on Oct 10th, 2008

Fascinating!

Lauren Axelrod, posted this comment on Oct 10th, 2008

Banksky is becoming a favorite topic on Triond. Interesting piece though. I really don’t know much about this artist.

Melody Arcamo Lagrimas, posted this comment on Oct 10th, 2008

Wonderful piece. Bansky’s art is really something.

JK Kristie, posted this comment on Oct 11th, 2008

Very interesting indeed. Thanks for sharing.

jo oliver, posted this comment on Oct 11th, 2008

Thanks for taking the time to do this collection. very well done!

Lostash, posted this comment on Oct 11th, 2008

More great info on Banksy!

Glynis Smy, posted this comment on Oct 12th, 2008

Absolutely fascinating!

Juancav, posted this comment on Oct 12th, 2008

Good work .

Anna Ski, posted this comment on Oct 17th, 2008

I love the pictures, they are fantastic and look so to life! Another unique article that deserves credit.

RJ Chamberlain, posted this comment on Oct 25th, 2008

Another great Banksy piece. Well done.

Drell, posted this comment on Oct 26th, 2008

I was born and raised in New Orleans, so I know the beauty that existed before the Hurricane. My family was greatly affected by Katrina. It not only destroyed houses but it also destroyed lives.

Joey, posted this comment on Jan 27th, 2010

Does anyone know the addresses of the artwork in New Orleans? was it part of Project 1. Please let me know, I would like to document them.

george, posted this comment on Apr 19th, 2010

the gray ghost has gone over some of banksy work i wont to punch the gray ghost in the face

katrinasui, posted this comment on May 25th, 2011

Banksy is a great graffiti artist. http://www.squidoo.com/a-brief-history-about-banksy-canvas-art-styles

BLACK GHOST, posted this comment on Sep 22nd, 2011

A FAKE-ASS STENCIL ARTIST. “BE A REAL ARTIST GREY GHOST.” NICE TRACINGS/STENCILS. HELLO. MY NAME IS “BLACK GHOST”. HE MUST BE TRYING TO MIMMIC US REAL PROFESSIONAL ARTISTS. HE IS NOT RESPECTING THE BEAUTIFUL ARCHITECTURE OF nEW oRLEANS. I’D LOVE TO PAINT MY THOUGHTS ON GREY GHOST’S HOUSE OR BUSINESS ESTABLISMENT. IF HE COMES IN MY AREA AND PAINTS SOMETHING HE MAY GET PAINTED RED. WE WORK HARD AND WE WILL PROTECT OR INVESTMENT. I THINK HE INTIMIDATES THE MEEK AND WON’T RISK MEETING ON A DARK NIGHT WITH ……… WE DON’T CARE. AIN’T NONE OF HIS WORK NEAR ME. WHERE EVER HE IS PAINTING THIS STUFF THE POLICE AND THE RESIDENTS NEED TO FIGHT BACK. A COUPLE OF BRICKS TO THE HEAD OR A PIT BULL ect. MIGHT HELP HIM GET HIS MIND RIGHT. GOD LOVES HIM ALSO.

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