In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, a great deal of news coverage was given to the phenomenal air rescues performed by U.S. Coast Guard helicopter crews. Despite that recognition, Capt. Robert Mueller, deputy commander U.S. Coast Guard Sector New Orleans, felt that there was also a need to honor the efforts of other responders.
During a staff briefing, he suggested commissioning a mural to honor those whose stories were yet untold. As luck would have it, the captain had a muralist in his command. Lt. Cmdr. Cherí Ben-Iesau, who has been painting her entire life, heard about the captain’s idea through a colleague. She presented sketches, which the captain enthusiastically approved. Once a space had been selected, work began.
The mural depicts a wide variety of Coast Guard responders set against a dramatic background of the ravaged city. Dedicated in early August by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, Ben-Iesau’s powerful mural has received wide acclaim within the Coast Guard. Other works by Lt. Cmdr. Ben-Iesau may be seen at www.ben-iesau.com.