What started as a push for a mural in August has grown into the creation of The Paul Maillard Business & Arts Initiative, a new non-profit in Luling.
This past fall Jenny Burch Lendle, who owns GL Realty Group located on the corner of Hall Drive and Paul Maillard in Luling, acted on her thought that the location of her building would be the perfect place to spark some creativity and joy in the community.
“When we first bought the building, we were going to have our logo painted on the side,” she said. “But we decided to just put up a sign instead. I’ve always thought, ‘Man, it would be awesome to have something painted on here.’”
Lendle started GL Realty Group in 2016 with her mother Kay Giammanco. In 2020 she and her husband Robert Lendle purchased the Luling building they are currently in. All three grew up in Luling.
Lendle said she loves driving or walking through cities and seeing works of art on the buildings.
“It does something … makes me smile, sparks creativity and inspiration,” she said. “This is what we want for our community. We would love nothing more than to see this area thrive again. Our hope is that this mural might be the start of something. A mural inspires hope and gives feelings of peace, joy and usually a smile. This is what we want to bring to Luling.”
Lendle started a GoFundMe to raise money for the mural project, and in September she and her mom and husband decided to take the project a step further and create a non-profit whose mission is to be a beacon of support for the local business community.
“Through art and collaboration, we will restore the spirit and the appeal of our street so that our businesses can once again thrive and our neighbors can be proud,” the initiative’s website states. “Through economic growth, community involvement and the inspiration of art we will reach our goal. The addition of visual artworks throughout the community will serve as inspiration for us today and for future generations. Our hope is that this initiative will spark a movement of improvement, new business, collaboration and community involvement here on Paul Maillard Road, Old Luling and our entire parish.”
Lendle said the initiative’s first project was to install a Christmas tree at the corner of Paul Maillard and River Road. The tree is decorated with butterfly ornaments that were painted by students at Luling Elementary, JB Martin and RK Smith. Martin’s Nursery, AMPM, Reagraphx, and Anything Car Audio & Upholstery helped to fund the project.
For the holiday season, Lendle said, the group has also encouraged the businesses and residents of Paul Maillard and Old Luling to put out lights and decorations for Christmas. A future project, she added, will have local students painting utility boxes in the area.
“We want to host events that will take place right here in the Luling area,” Lendle said. “We would like to utilize Monsanto Park and create events like art markets … possibly have a small food truck festival and like a trunk or treat and parade. We have a lot of ideas and 2023 will be the year to put all of these things in motion. All in all we want to make this section of Luling a more exciting place to pass through or visit and to bring back some of that main street community vibe that you see in other areas like Ponchatoula or Rivertown.”
For more information on The Paul Maillard Business & Arts Initiative, visit pmbusinessandarts.org or search for the organization on Facebook and Instagram.
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