.. also saw the one of the most catastrophic natural disasters of the 20th century when Hurricane Katrina destroyed parts of the city in 2005.
As New Orleans has worked to rebuild, it has become home to many artists (both old and new) who have sought refugee in the mystical, vibrant and historic city. Amongst these artist is artist-activist Brandan “Bmike” Odums.Through the support of Amnesty International-USA “Amnesty for Arts” program, on July 3, 2015 Odums completed an epic 25-foot mural of “Angola 3” prisoner Albert Woodfox across the street from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Odums, a leader in the post Katrina artist community, uses art as a tool for activism and has dedicated his career to highlighting iconic humanitarians and the struggles of New Orleanais post Hurriance Katrina.
Odums’ impressive mural depicts the face of sixty-eight-year-old Albert Woodfox, the only member of the internationally celebrated Angola 3 who is still in solitary confinement and has been for 41 years at Louisiana's infamous Angola Prison.
Fellow Angola 3 member Robert King was released after his conviction for murdering another prisoner was overturned in 200l, while Angola 3 prisoner Herman Wallace died in October 2013, after 41 years of solitary confinement.
All three of the Angola 3 have maintained that they were convicted on false charges and kept in solitary confinement because they formed a chapter of the Black Panther Party in prison and organized against inhuman prison conditions.
On July 5, 2015 I had the humbling opportunity to visit Odums’ mural and pay respects to the Angola 3. Having traveled to New Orleans for the Annual Essence Festival that was taking place across the street at the Mercedez-Benz superdome, I was fortunate that my trip also allowed me to venture away from the glitz and glam of the festival and be reminded of how art also has the power to be bold and political while challenging injustices around the world.
As I approached the mural, I saw other people gathered around to discuss its significance. Amongst the viewers was a father explaining the significance of the Angola 3 to his son. The father said “art is important because it makes you think.” I realized that such a mural not only had the power to spark meaningful conversations but also can inspire future generations to continue to stand up to injustices.