Like many locals, Enrique Alférez came for a visit … and never left. Born in Mexico (where at age 12 he served in the Mexican Revolution under Pancho Villa), the acclaimed sculptor arrived in New Orleans in 1929, where he established himself as the city’s most popular public artist until his death in 1999.
You’ll spot Alférez’s Art Deco-inspired works all over town, from Lakefront Airport to City Park, where he created everything from water fountains to garden benches as part of the WPA project during the 1930s and ’40s. The park’s recently opened Helis Foundation Enrique Alférez Sculpture Garden within its Botanical Gardens puts 14 of the artist’s most important—and controversial—pieces in one setting, while putting his prolific career into perspective. Open daily, the sculpture garden offers free admission to Louisiana residents each Wednesday, as does the neighboring New Orleans Museum of Art, where the Besthoff Sculpture Garden offers works by more than 50 additional artists.
Selections From the Helis Foundation Enrique Alférez Sculpture Garden
(Images @Shawn Fink)