THE ICON: Arthur Q. Davis
THE LEGACY: Arguably the only way to overlook Arthur Q. Davis’ legacy in New Orleans is to close one’s eyes. The pre-eminent modernist architect didn’t just bring New Orleans into the modern architectural era. He gave it its skyline, as a founder of the firms that designed such distinctive contemporary edifices as the Superdome, the neighboring Hyatt Regency, the Smoothie King Center, the UNO Lakefront Arena, Thomy Lafon School and the since-demolished Rivergate, among many others. Working with longtime business partner Nathanial Curtis, he did it smartly and sensitively, too, fusing Creole and Beaux-Arts traditions with modernist ideas, coaxing the city into the 20th century while at the same time honoring its proud, storied past. Davis would go on to design buildings around the world, but nowhere is his impact felt as deeply as it is in New Orleans, the city he proudly called home.
THE ARTIST: Jessica Strahan
THE INSPIRATION: “He always moved forward and never stepped back. He was like some kind of nuclear reactor; he always had the energy to go forward.” — Quint Davis, about his father, Arthur Q. Davis.