The Central Business District (CBD) is known for many things, including being New Orleans’ “American Sector” after the Louisiana Purchase. Now, people have another reason to talk about it: a gigantic mural of Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong. Louis Armstrong, one of the most celebrated jazz musicians of the 20th century, was recreated by talented street artist Carlos Eduardo Fernandes Leo, AKA Eduardo Kobra on a formerly blighted piece of property at 300 Rampart street. Kobra, famous for his worldwide paintings, used airbrushes, stencil, and rollers to bring the 45-foot mural to life.
Kobra is known for many works, including another massive portrait of Tupac Shakur in Miami. He’s also responsible for two of the largest paintings in the world, including a 62,000 square foot image on a chocolate factory in Sao Paulo, and another 32,000 square foot image for the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Summer Olympics. He’s painted at least 40 other murals throughout the world.
Kobra created the kaleidoscopic mural in his unique style, using geometric sections in reds, purples, greens, and various other colors to cover what began as a black and white portrait. In places, viewers can spot traces of that black and white original.
The piece property at 300 Rampart street where the mural is located is being developed into a hotel by Kupperman Companies, in partnership with ERG enterprises. Kupperman Companies also owns Drifter Hotel, the Frenchmen Hotel, and the future Hotel Saint Vincent, while ERG also owns the Orpheum Theater, Westin Canal Place, and the Windsor Court Hotel.
Surprisingly, Kobra created the mural in only a week, beginning July 27, and finishing on August 2 – just in time for Armstrong’s August 4th birthday celebration, and the start of the Satchmo Summerfest.
For those from outside the New Orleans area who are less familiar with Louis Daniel Armstrong, he was known for his brilliant trumpeter work and beautiful voice. Some of his most well-known songs are his cover of “What a Wonderful World,” and “When the Saints Go Marching In.”
All photos in this article are credited to local street art photographer Kady Perry, whose new book “New Orleans: Murals, Street Art & Graffiti Vol. 1” compiles photos and stories of 70 New Orleans artists. The book is available here.