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by Larry LeoNovember 17, 2021
© Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Artist Heather Mattingly's new mural on a utility box at Canal Street and Carrollton Avenue was short-lived. On Monday, she approached the box to discover that a man had painted over it with a portrait of former Saints QB Drew Brees. Per NOLA...
Artist heartbroken after her painting is blotted out by Drew Brees fan — Heather Mattingly was shocked when a man began blotting out her new mural on a utility box at Canal Street and Carrollton Avenue on Monday. She pleaded with the stranger to spare her buoyant painting of a purple New Orleans-style shotgun house surrounded by colorful foliage, she said, but the man was determined.
According to Mattingly, before he used a roller to cover her painting with white paint, he explained that the utility box had been home to his own artwork — a portrait of former Saints quarterback Drew Brees. Old No. 9 had been deleted to make room for her mural, and he planned to reciprocate.
“I said, ‘Please don’t,” Mattingly said. “He said, well you painted over my box and I’m going to cover yours.”
And so he allegedly did, more or less obliterating Mattingly’s mural before her eyes. As he painted, Mattingly said she used her cellphone to shoot photo after photo of his actions. She said she hopes the photos will help identify the culprit.
Frustrated by the confrontation, Mattingly said she began to cry during her encounter with the man. "And I don’t cry much, either,” she added.
In a way, Mattingly said, this all started roughly five years ago. Mattingly, who makes a living renovating houses and as a massage therapist, had always loved to paint. So she applied to an organization called Community Visions Unlimited, requesting permission to paint the utility box in Mid-City.
With the approval of a selection committee and a neighborhood representative, Mattingly said she was allowed to paint the prominently located box, receiving $300 for her work.
Mattingly said she worked for three days on her painting, finishing on Monday at about 3 p.m., when she left the site for a short time. When she returned at 4:30, she said, the man had appeared, ominously equipped to paint.
…When she asked him what he was up to, the man allegedly told her he planned to do “a little touching up."
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