Mural project set in Lafayette

The first of several planned street murals in the McComb-Veazey area is set to come to life Saturday as part of a neighborhood revitalization effort that is beginning to gain traction.

A street mural “painting party” is planned from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday at 12th and South Magnolia streets, where residents are invited to participate in the painting of large magnolia flowers on the pavement at the intersection.

It is the first in a series of murals planned for major intersections in McComb-Veazey, which includes the area roughly bordered by Southeast Evangeline Thruway, East Pinhook Road and Carmel Drive.

“We are hoping that all this can bring spirit back in the area,” said Virginia Jones, who lives in the neighborhood and has been active in revitalization efforts there.

The historic neighborhood once hosted a bustling commercial corridor along 12th Street but has been marred by empty lots and blighted homes in recent decades.

“We need a lot of renovation in the area,” Jones said.

A major revitalization push is already under way, and city-parish government, Lafayette Habitat for Humanity and nonprofit redevelopment groups have taken an interest.

“McComb-Veazey is going to be our focus neighborhood for the next several years,” Lafayette Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Melinda Taylor said.

She said Habitat plans to start building six new homes in McComb-Veazey before the end of the year. “Our goal is to do at least 24 in the next few years,” Taylor said.

Residents in the neighborhood successfully petitioned the City-Parish Council in 2010 to change the zoning classification along 12th Street area to put in stricter limits on the types of businesses allowed.

Last year, community members planted 50 new trees along the street, which runs through the middle of the McComb-Veazey area.

“I was so happy when I saw the first leaf. It was like a new baby,” Jones said.

She said another 50 trees will be planted in the next few months. “It’s just to make everything look better than it has been,” Jones said.

The next pavement mural is planned for 12th and South Orange streets.

“We will have a picture of a big orange there,” she said.

For the Saturday event, interested residents are asked to bring brushes.

An outline of the mural will already be in place, allowing residents to simply fill in the outline with the proper colors, Jones said.

The “painting party” is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., followed by a block party with music and family activities from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.

For more information, visit http://tshelvin.wix.com/paint-mcv-wonderful.