West St. John’s halls get a little brighter

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 22, 2011

By David Vitrano


EDGARD – West St. John High School unveiled a huge mural dedicated to the history of American music on Wednesday.

The work — called “All That Jazz and More…” — depicts a wide range of musicians who have contributed to the music scene both nationally and locally.

Starting with Native Americans, the piece traces the history of American music through the blues and jazz ages before giving way to icons of rock and pop music.

Among the musicians depicted are Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, Michael Jackson and Jimi Hendrix along with River Parishes natives Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew.

Professional artist Jamar Pierre, an Edgard native himself, said he is dedicating the piece to Bartholomew, also an Edgard native.

Pierre conceptualized the work and collaborated with the school’s art students in executing his vision. He said part of the reason he undertakes projects such as these is to encourage youth to explore their artistic sides and perhaps even consider a career in art.

“You have a better chance to make a living as an artist than making it in the NFL or the NBA,” said Pierre.

He added, “I was very happy to come here and do a mural in my hometown.”

The experience was a learning process all around for some of the students whose musical knowledge barely reaches back to the last century.

“I still don’t know some of these artists,” admitted art student Devonta Morris, who dedicated many hours to the creation of the mural.

This is the second such project Pierre has completed with students in the River Parishes. The first was at Lutcher Elementary School.

The project was funded by a grant from the Houma Arts Council.