LOLIS EDWARD ELIE 2018-06-01T09:43:08-05:00

Project Description

THE ICON: Lolis Edward Elie

THE LEGACY: The old man wasn’t so sure. Lolis Edward Elie, a black man who remembered being yelled at by police for having the gall to walk through the whites-only Audubon Park as a young boy, wanted to help fight such injustices. His truck-driver father, however, was less than encouraging of his son’s intellectual pursuits, so young Lolis ended up as a merchant seaman. His conscience, and his courage, would win out, and he would enroll in the then-newly integrated Loyola Law School. That provided him with the tools he needed to play a key role in New Orleans’ civil rights movement, using his legal expertise and his determination to fight on behalf of Freedom Riders, Black Panthers, lunch-counter protesters and others. His motivation was simple, according to his son, Lolis Eric Elie: “He just wanted to help people.”

THE ARTIST: Sean Randall, WhereYart.net

THE INSPIRATION: “I think we made a great deal of progress, but we’re still stuck with the same problems now that we had then. The worst problem we have is there’s no meaningful education, and it’s a lot of hostility toward youngsters. I mean, there are no playground facilities in this whole community. No basketball goals in Louis Armstrong park. That fence is there to keep the little Louis Armstrongs out. And it’s an insult.” — Lolis Edward Elie in 2013