Coliseum Square Park Sees Birth of a Muse

Birth of a Muse Kim Bernadas Artist SculptureSeptember 24, 2011, NOLA Defender

by Brad Rhines

LOWER GARDEN DISTRICT – Tension reached a fever pitch last night in Coliseum Square as the final moments ticked down to the unveiling of the mystery statue that sat stubbornly shrouded at the park’s entrance all week. Just as the simmering pot was about to boil over, organizers unleashed the trifecta of wine, cheese and interpretive dance, to pacify the hordes. On Thursday, NoDef conjectured that the statue might be a depiction of Terpsichore, the namesake of the street where she’s planted. We’re no wizard butchers, but it turns out we got this one right. (Click through for a photo slideshow of the event)

Created by local artist Kim Bernadas, Birth of a Muse is cast in bronze and creates an entrance to Coliseum Square at Prytania St. In a statement from the Arts Council of New Orleans, Bernadas says of the work, “Expressed here is Terpsichore, emerging from a trumpet flower, to begin her life in celebration of music, song and dance. She beckons friends old and new to explore Coliseum Square and celebrate the natural and artistic beauty found in the neighborhood of the nine muses.”

On hand for Friday’s dedication were representatives from Arts Council, the Coliseum Square Neighborhood Association and Councilwoman Stacy Head’s office. Also in attendance was a member of the Krewe of Muses, who donated funds for landscaping in the park. The statue contributes to the ongoing restoration of the area, which began in 1972 when residents organized to oppose the construction of a Mississippi River Bridge ramp through the neighborhood and won a spot on the National Register of Historic Places.

Terpischore joins notable New Orleanians Margaret Haughery and Sophie Wright—who are also immortalized in statue form—as guardians of the park, giving Uptown moms and nannies the perfect opportunity to teach young women of the city about the powerful forces, mythological and otherwise, that paved the roads before them.