The idea of the murals in the downtown area began with the Abbeville Film and Visitors Commission member, Debbie Garrot.
Garrot, with the approval of Mayor Piazza, created the Paint the Town Committee. The Paint the Town Committee’s main goal was to raise money for downtown murals. With the help from the city, many organizations and the generous donors the painting of the murals began. The first mural completed was the “Cajun Accordion” located on the back of City Hall.
The City of Abbeville, through the Main Street Program, was awarded a Certified Local Government Grant. As a part of the Certified Local Government program the city becomes an active partner with the State Historic Preservation Office and the Federal Historic Preservation Program.
The Abbeville Main Street program requested funding to create and install outdoor educational interpretive signage to be placed near the murals. These will enhance visitors’ perceptions and give them a better understating of our way of life in our city and region.
The three murals located on the Vermilion Parish Tourist and Cultural Center are depictions of the Giant Omelette Celebration, the story and meaning of the Coastal Cowboys, and events that happen in Magdalen Square like the Daylily Festival and Garden Show. Another sign will be located in the City Hall parking lot drawing your attention to the 40 ft. accordion mural painted on the back of the building. The five other signs will be placednear the murals located on the Sam Guarino Blacksmith Heritage Center describes a part of the culture and value of the Sicilians in Abbeville.
The muralist team, headed by Robert Dafford, spent some time drawing, painting and listening to passersby about their experiences with each subject matter that was being worked on. We credit each artist as offering a special touch to the overall success of the painting Robert and his assistants, Ralph Schexnaydre, Lisa Trahan and Chris Pavlik.
Originally published in the Abbeville Meridional on July 11, 2021