Black excellence is rarely a part of local media.  When the Henry family unveiled a beautiful and stunning mural about the legacy of excellence, a crowd of about 350 braved the New Orleans heat and humidity to attend.  The mural is over 100 feet long and 20 feet high.  The artist- Kentrice Schexnayder- took two years to finish it.  Schexnayder said she personally did over 90% of the work.  Sadly local mainstream media did not report on the event.  Guess the blood sweat and tears that the mural represents is uhhhh not newsworthy? But if Troy Henry shot somebody…….

In New Orleans the local media does a good job of reporting political information.  You can find stories about Mayor LaToya Cantrell going to Europe.   District Attorney Jason Williams tax fraud case is rightfully a top story.  And if heavy rain is in the area, local media will let you know about parking on the neutral ground. But let’s face it.  Sports and if it bleeds it leads.

We do need to know about murders and carjackings and burglaries. Our safety is a primary concern.  But the continuous bombardment of negative news contributes to the negativity.  Many people make assumptions and draw conclusions from the local news.  And last week I did a study.  I opened every news website.  Looked at all the news stories.  99.3% of the stories about black people were negative.  Do it yourself.  Here are links to all the TV and major local newspaper.  Look at the news stories and see what you see.  99%.  Negative stories.  There was one positive story about the Henry mural unveiling. 


But the main story is the great Henry family mural that was officially unveiled last week.  In a crowd of movers and shakers in and about New Orleans, a program featured a list of speakers including

  • Stella Chase Reese
  • Artist Kentrice Schexnayder
  • Glen Boyd
  • Wendell Pierce
  • Don Bartholomew
  • Ruston Henry
  • Troy Henry
Demetric Mercadel Reads US Congress Proclamation

The mural commissioned by Troy Henry traces the historic legacy of one of New Orleans’ great families.  The family traces its roots to the lower 9th ward.  The late pioneering civil rights activist and union leader Clarence “Chink” Henry is prominently displayed.  He forced the stevedores to pay fair wages to the black longshoremen who drew the hardest most grueling jobs but sometimes were never paid.  And when they were companies paid them cents on the dollars earned by white longshoremen.  For decades, the black middle class was anchored by men who toiled the strenuous and dangerous jobs on the New Orleans riverfront. Chink Henry insured we got our fair share

Sterling and Elvira Henry take center stage on the wall.  Sterling is a pioneering pharmacist who integrated the Circle Food store and opened the 9th ward’s first black owned pharmacy H&W.  The pharmacy served the community.  Mrs. Elvira Henry was the original sports mom.  She infamously supported the champion Pontchartrain Park Patriots sports teams.  In her super stretch station wagon she ferried 10 boys to and from practice and games.  She cooked food and fed the teams before and after games.  The teams, coached by neighborhood legend Mac Knox, won multiple championships spanning different sports for years.  Mrs. Henry and Coach Mac kept kids on the straight and narrow.  Those who fell off could only blame the allure of the streets and themselves.

Brothers Ruston and Troy received a beautifully worded proclamation from Congressman Troy Carter.  The proclamation is now a permanent part of the US Congress’ archives. 

The mural also features people close to the Henry family.  Actor Wendell Pierce, Leah Chase, journalist Nancy Parker, current mayor but shown in her role as City Councilperson LaToya Cantrell, and music legend Dave Bartholomew.  Also places and things dear to the family include Xavier University, the bridge connecting the 9th ward, WBOK radio, and a closed fist with a red black and green ribbon flowing around it. 

Black excellence must be celebrated.  People need to see more than Black people on their worst days.  This mural is open to the public.  Visit and see for yourself. 

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