Controversial graffiti artist won't ride in Chewbacchus shoe box parade

The vandalized Princess Leia mural by Muck Rock on St. Claude Avenue, detail
The vandalized Princess Leia mural by Muck Rock on St. Claude Avenue, detail (Photo courtesy Ryan Ballard)
Doug MacCash, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune By Doug MacCash, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune MardiGras.com
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on April 28, 2017 at 10:08 AM, updated April 28, 2017 at 10:09 AM

The Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus's annual shoe box parade will take place at 7 p.m. May 4, as scheduled. But the controversial graffiti artist Muck Rock will not reign as queen, as previously planned.

In a telephone conversation, the artist said she has been hired to paint a large-scale mural for the television show "Mr. Mercedes," which is filming in Charleston, S.C. The mural has to be finished fast to fit the television shooting schedule, she said, so she's giving up her golf cart ride in the upcoming New Orleans mini-parade, which is known as "Shoeboxus."

"It happened to fall on the same dates," she said. "It's a bummer to miss the parade."

Despite the practical reason for Muck Rock bowing out of Shoeboxus, the cancellation may be interpreted as a triumph for those who lambasted the Los Angeles-based muralist for bombing St. Claude Avenue with a suite of aerosol paintings at the start of 2017.

Muck Rock was not the target of typical anti-graffiti outrage. Instead, she was scorned by onlookers who would ordinarily welcome street art, but saw her as an insensitive out-of-town usurper who didn't understand the social politics of the city. The contentiousness came to a head on April 6 when Muck Rock's mural-sized portrait of Princess Leia on the Chewbacchus headquarters was vandalized.

Read:"Princess Leia mural by Muck Rock vandalized at Chewbacchus den."

The theme of the 2017 Shoeboxus parade is "NOLAier Than Thou," referring to those who claim proprietorship of Crescent City culture. That Shoeboxus parade organizer Ryan Ballard asked Muck Rock to be queen of the "NOLAier Than Thou" parade was no mere coincidence.   

Muck Rock said that regardless of the social media scourging she received from some quarters, she "felt like I got a lot of love from New Orleans." She plans to return to do more "sanctioned" murals in the future.

According to Ballard, Muck Rock will be replaced with dancer Diem Dangerous-Rose. The Princess Leia mural, he said, is scheduled for restoration before the May 4 parade.  

Shoeboxus 2017 has a new route that begins and ends at 601 Frenchmen Street, the location of the Dat Dog sausage restaurant.