In 2008 the renowned British satirical street artist Banksy visited New Orleans leaving behind his particular brand of social and political commentary on Hurricane Katrina, its effects on New Orleans and issues in American culture.
Fred Radtke (The Gray Ghost) has made it his mission to erase every bit of graffiti in New Orleans with his paint roller in hand. The anti-street-art crusader passed quietly through each neighborhood, obliterating all traces of spray paint with his own signature splotches of gray – hence his nickname.
Some locals celebrated his dedication to keeping New Orleans clean, while others decried his assault against free expression.
The Gray Ghost himself became the subject of some of Banksy’s New Orleans work, depicted as a bent figure blotting out colur on the city’s walls. Where Banksy painted over huge swaths of Radtke’s gray paint, Radtke came back and painted over many of Banksy’s works of art.
Not all of the Banksy obliteration came courtesy of the Gray Ghost.
A man was actually photographed in the process of painting over ‘Boy on Life Preserver’.
Regardless of who covered them, all the New Orleans Banksy art is now gone except ‘Rain Girl’, thanks to its protective plexiglass.
In April the Melbourne City Council sent the cleaners into Hosier Lane on clean up the lane, but the over exuberant employees accidentally obliterated the Banksy stencil of a parachuting rat, unaware that it was a valuable piece of street art.