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New Orleans Has its Own Banksy

Recently several stencil art installations have popped up on New Orleans walls, leading some to wonder if street art star Banksy was back in town in time for the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. But this week Uptown Messenger solved this street art mystery and alas, it's not Banksy: artist Az is the creator of the politically-charged stencil art you may have noticed around town.

Amid the many reported cases of police brutality that would eventually fuel the Black Lives Matter movement, a stencil appeared on the former campus of the Carrollton-area Alfred E. Priestley Junior High — it is a scene of police violence with Darth Vader standing in front of the officers, alongside the phrase "May the Police Force Be With You." Before that, an angel appeared on the wall near where a woman's body was stashed into a trash can in Central City. There's also the stencil of two boys caught mid-tag on Tchoupitoulas Street near Fourth Street.

While the stencil art bears similarities to Banksy, who painted 14 stencils in New Orleans during a 2008 visit, the artist is 32-year-old Az, who moved to New Orleans two years ago after stints in seven or eight cities.

The Uptown Messenger article has one eerie detail: the angel stencil near the site of that dead body? Az painted that before police discovered the body, and he feared that someone might connect him to the crime. Maybe it was a sad case of life imitating art?

· Imitation or real? Banksy-style stencil appears in New Orleans at K+10 [NOLA.com]
· Meet the street artist New Orleans keeps mistaking for Banksy [Uptown Messenger]
· Banksy fifth anniversary tour recalls 2008 New Orleans visit [NOLA.com]
· All public art coverage [Curbed NOLA]