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Nola Sculpture Garden a Pleasant Surprise!

Reflecting on the highlights of our recent trip to New Orleans. We stayed in the French Quarter but headed to the New Orleans Botanical garden early on. We did not do much research so were surprised by a fabulous sculpture garden with the work of sculptor Enrique Alferez.

Enrique Alférez was a Mexican-American artist who specialized in sculpting architectural reliefs and the human form.

“Born in a rural village in northern Mexico, Alférez was introduced to sculpture by his father, a woodworker who was trained . He ran away at age 12, and was conscripted into the Constitutional Army during the Mexican Revolution. In 1920, he fled his home country and made his way to El Paso, Texas, where he found work as a photographer’s assistant. It was here he attended a lecture presented by art teacher Lorado Taft, who was visiting El Paso on an Art Institute of Chicago tour. Seeing potential in the young man, Taft encouraged Alferez to come study under him in Chicago, which he did from 1927 through 1929.[1]

After completing his education in 1929, he moved to New Orleans, Louisiana, where he spent much of the rest of his life. He later married an American woman named Margaret, with whom he had a daughter.[2]

His sculptures and reliefs adorn many parks, buildings, and landmarks in the New Orleans Metropolitan Area, many of them commissioned by the Works Progress Administration. Some of the most notable include those in City Park, as well as the “Molly Marine” statue, the first American sculpture to depict a woman in military uniform[3][4] His fountain at New Orleans Lakefront Airport is a well known local landmark. He made reliefs for a number of buildings, including the Charity Hospital Building[5] in New Orleans and the Palmolive Building in Chicago.

Alférez was not only a sculptor, and actively produced work in other artistic disciplines. Notably, he painted an official portrait of Senator Huey P. Long (who he personally loathed, as he revealed decades later).

Alférez remained active into his later years, both as a working artist and an art teacher. In 1993, he appeared in a PBS American Experience documentary entitled “The Hunt for Pancho Villa”. – Wikipedia

WPA Water Fountain 1930

You are flanked by reliefs representing working woman and men as you walk thru the pergola tunnel leading to the exhibit. Once thru it is as if you are entering another world.

The awe I experience was felt deep in my soul as I connected to his visual expression so filled with passion even he did not have words.

Repose – Cast 1987 to 1990 Bronze
The Owl

The placement and plantings were in harmony with the sculptures in a way that keep you in the moment.

Adam and Eve in 1980’s Cast Stone (Here lies Adam and Even before they ate the forbidden fruit.)

We found ourselves wandering forward and back enjoying the sculptures from different angles. I find Enrique’s work comes to life before your eyes. You can imagine laying in the grass with a lover. The photos don’t really do them justice.

Louisiana at Work and Play (Charity Hospital Front Entrance) Aluminum Grill, 1937
South Wind of the Four Winds Fountain Cast Stone 1935-1936 (New Orleans Lakefront Airport)
Gymnast 1982 Bronze
La Soladera – Bronze c. 1984 – Cast 1990 – 1991

The Bather and Moses

Arabesque c.1978 Cast 1989-1990 Bronze

I hope if you visit New Orleans you make time for this sculpture garden. We can’t wait to go back for a visit to the whole garden in another season.

Back of Sappho – Poured concrete

Happy Gardening from Laurin and Shawn