Artist Henry Lipkis’ second line mural, located at Saint Claude Avenue and Franklin Avenue, is now complete after nearly a year of work.
The massive art piece, titled “Third Line,” covers a 150-foot-long, 35-foot-tall wall. It depicts members of the community who all play different roles in a traditional New Orleans second line.
“It’s been super rewarding in some ways,” Lipkis said of the long process of painting the mural. “It’s rewarding to have all the people who are in the mural and people from the 9th ward coming by and reacting really strongly to it.”
Among those represented on the wall are Big Chief Demond Melancon, Cheeky Blakk, members of the Buffalo Soldiers Riding Club, TBC Brass Band sax player Brandon Franklin–who was killed in 2010–and a rider from the Caramel Curves all-female motorcycle gang.
Notably, the mural features members of the three Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs that second line down Saint Claude every year, with Laurence Dunbar of Nine Times, Robert Starks and Ronald Lewis of Big Nine, and Andrew Johnson of CTC all appearing in the artwork.
Also represented in the mural is Action Jackson, the WWOZ DJ who specializes in Social Aid & Pleasure Club activity around the city. Jackson was instrumental in bringing this project to life, helping Lipkis to meet and familiarize with different members of the community and Social Aid & Pleasure Club circles.
“The second lines move so fast, you don’t always get a chance to see all that’s going on,” Jackson said. “This guy had a great idea, and he had obviously gone to the second lines and viewed all this stuff. And he was able to capture that in a painting.”
Jackson and Lipkis are organizing an unveiling block party on Sunday, June 5 to celebrate the completion of the project. People from the neighborhood and beyond are expected to gather at 5 p.m. in front of the mural, some of whom will no doubt see their own likeness on the wall.