NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — It’s on street signs, dumpsters and buildings. It seems like everywhere you look in New Orleans, there’s graffiti.

Mayor LaToya Cantrell announced on Wednesday, Aug. 30, that the city is putting $500,000 toward graffiti removal.

“We know that with graffiti, it is changing the behaviors of people, you know, and trash in this this city, it’s about changing the behaviors of people,” Cantrell said. “It takes time, but when we demonstrate consistency in our approach to mitigate and abate, we know also that changes the behaviors.”

The city hired Safe Wash Solutions to erase and wash away the graffiti. Crews went to work on a building that houses a soon-to-be food market at the corner of Elysian Fields and St. Claude avenues.

“We know that graffiti has a negative impact on everybody, and we know that removing the graffiti will help start the process of making everything better for business and citizens who live in the community,” Safe Wash Solutions CEO Ciana McDaniel said.

Monica Kelly, the founder of People for Public Art, says the work will educate business owners about the cost of graffiti cleanup, but it’s not going to completely solve the problem.

“As this building has demonstrated over the past couple of years, you know, I was one of the muralists who previously painted on this building, and they were left untouched for a very long time,” Kelly explained. “As soon as the building owners painted it white, it became a turf war.”

Kelly believes additional funding needs to go toward local artists.

“A mural program and mural funding will complete the picture because it would allow for local artists to create work that speaks to the community,” Kelly said.

The People for Public Art will be painting a mural on the newly cleaned-up building at 1101 Elysian Fields Ave. Donations can be made to People of Public Art through a GoFundMe.

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