NEW ORLEANS -- Art restoration expert Elise Grenier and her team are saving 80-year-old murals of Paris and New York that have been covered for decades after Lakefront Airport was renovated in the 1960s.
"This is meticulous work," Grenier said. "Inch by inch we're removing layers of time, and man made damage, and so on to the paintings, and they're actually in very good condition underneath."
The murals that depict famous destinations had been covered in rice paper to protect them. The team is removing the paper and adhesive, cleaning off the dirt, and repairing the damage to six murals. New Orleans Museum of Art guides were fascinated.
NOMA Docent Joan Zaslow said what is fascinating is the fact that they were covered up with sheetrock.
Naomi Kornman, also a docent, said "It's the history of our city, and we get to see them again."
Grenier believes the murals will last for a very long time. "They'll be here for a thousand years," Grenier said. "They'll be here forever."
In a February Action Report, Wilma Heaton, Vice Chairman of the Non-Flood Protection Asset Management Authority, said they were raising funds for the project, and today she said people responded.
"The most important help was the Action Report," Heaton said. "You got the message out to the public, and they came in droves to support us."
The last step in the process is to fill this vacant space.
Once there was a mural titled Bali, but it disappeared. Grenier said she is prepared to recreate it, but what she's really hoping is to find the original.
"It would be wonderful if it turns up, and it might, because I can't imagine that anyone would have done away with it," Grenier said. Anyone with information about the missing mural can contact Grenier here: http://www.grenierconservation.com.