The art deco style creations of metal, stone and concrete adorn the path through a sculpture garden in New Orleans City Park. The statues and other pieces are the works of Mexican-born sculptor Enrique Alferez, who lived in the Crescent City for 70 years.
new biography tells story of adventure
Katie Bowler Young, in partnership with The Historic New Orleans Collection, has written a biography of Enrique Alferez. Katie begins her book by explaining her own fascination with the sculptor who has pieces of his art scattered around New Orleans. While a student at the University of New Orleans, she would read and study near the Fountain of Four Winds at New Orleans Lakefront Airport, a place she had visited as a child. Alferez create the fountain in 1938. “I would just read and look at those mythical figures,” Katie explains, “I wondered who had created them. And I became humbled as I learned about the difficult journey that he traveled to pursue an art he loved.”
A 12-year-old boy with poncho villa
It’s a remarkable story that Enrique Alferez, at the age of 12, becomes part of the Mexican Revolutionary forces of Poncho Villa. Katie Bowler Young explains how that happened in this interview.
The sculpture La Soldadera features the strong figure of the women who supported the Mexican Revolution. The defiant looking mother holds a breastfeeding infant in one arm. Her other arm holds a rifle behind her back.
a new orleans sculpture garden features alferez
The Helis Foundation Enrique Alferez Sculpture Garden is a hidden gem in the Botanical Garden in New Orleans City Park. Here, visitors can stroll under giant live oak trees and see works of art that include statues of women who seem to defy gravity as they balance themselves on one hand. A stone statue features Adam and Eve reclining under a tree. A controversial piece named The Family is mounted in greenery along the garden’s fence. The nude depiction of a father, mother and child raised eyebrows when it was first displayed in public in the 1950’s.
alferez in new orleans – beyond the sculpture garden
Some of the art deco facades of New Orleans buildings feature the art of Alferez. In the city’s central business district, you can find statues of the biblical character David, the Lute Player and Molly Marine. Molly is the first statue of a female member of the military in the United States. Alferez himself made reproductions of Molly Marine for military bases at Paris Island and Quantico, where they stand today. Other works by Alferez can be seen above the main entrance to New Orleans’ old Charity hospital, and at the terminal building at Lakefront Airport.
tv feature on sculptor enrique alferez
read more about it
Katie Bowler Young wrote the biography Enrique Alferez Sculptor with the support from the Helis Foundation and The Historic New Orleans Collection. The book is available at major retailers and The Historic New Orleans Collection.
visiting the sculpture garden in new orleans
The Helis Foundation Enrique Alferez Sculpture Garden is located inside the Botanical Garden at New Orleans City Park.