Thieves hit French Quarter art gallery for third time in two years

Published: Mar. 31, 2023 at 4:58 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Thieves hit a French Quarter art gallery for the third time in two years. The owner says rampant crime is making it difficult to operate in the city. It’s a sentiment shared by so many others.

Artist Lance Vargas is still picking up the pieces after somebody smashed their way into the Deurty Boys Gallery on Chartres early Wednesday morning.

“Somebody broke in through the side window of the gallery, got inside and just went crazy and tore everything up,” Vargas explained.

11 window panes were shattered, and intricately constructed art pieces were thrown around like toys.

Showing off a wall of artwork that came crashing down, Vargas says, “This was trashed and there was an alligator right here that also got damaged.”

Vargas says it’s the third time his business has been vandalized in just two years. Once, the money box was even stolen. Vargas calls his life’s work here a labor of love. He admits it’s challenging for all small businesses, especially in the quarter where he says sales are down. This adds to the stress.

“A small business is a spiritual venture for the most part; if it’s one person in a brick and mortar or two or three people in a brick and mortar, it’s sort of a spiritual venture every day, so it affects you in that way,” Vargas commented.

With crime rampant across New Orleans, this local artist has almost resigned himself to his fate, saying, owning a business in the French Quarter, you’re just waiting for something like this to happen.

“Eventually, your card is going to be pulled by somebody, a drunk tourist or a person who should be getting mental healthcare, or an opportunist criminal,” Vargas stated.

Despite the numerous break-ins, Vargas remains committed to keeping his shop in the French Quarter to showcase his art and says he’s trying to remain strong.

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