In a city like New Orleans, which pulses with joie de vivre -- the joy of life -- reminders of human misery and human cruelty can seem a stark contrast. Still, it's crucial to remember the dark times of our past and to celebrate our shared humanity, and it's very possible to do both at once.
The New Orleans Holocaust Memorial is proof. Designed by Israeli artist Yaacov Agam and built in 2003, this public sculpture uses symbolism to tell a tragic tale, but also celebrates victory over tyranny.
The sculpture is made of nine panels, each of which bears a different design. As you walk around the sculpture, the colors meld and merge to create ten different viewpoints, symbolizing the darkest periods of oppression in the Holocaust as well as the ongoing light and spirit of the Jewish people.
Recognizable images include a yellow star of David and a rainbow-colored menorah, and abstract images symbolize human misery and oppression. Images of all ten views can be seen at the New Orleans Holocaust Memorial website, and you can see it in motion (so to speak) in this YouTube video of the Memorial.
Where and How to See The Memorial:
The Holocaust Memorial is an easy visit for nearly all visitors to New Orleans. It is located in Woldenberg Park, a stretch of green space that separates the French Quarter from the rolling Mississippi River. It sits about halfway between the Audubon Aquarium and the French Market, and it's quite easy to find -- just stroll along the river and you can't miss it.
The Memorial really is public art at its finest, and symbolizes something tremendously important, so do take a few minutes out of your New Orleans trip to have a visit.