No matter the time, folks on Main Street in Houma can always see a sunrise.
They can thank muralist Hans Geist. His latest work, an 18-by-24-foot painting outside Lumiere Blues & Jazz Bistro, portrays the sun rising over the Terrebonne Parish bayou — and the phrase “home sweet Houma” ascending from the water.
“I just wanted to give back a little bit after all the devastation we had from Hurricane Ida,” Geist said. “It’s a sunrise that’s bringing new light on our community, for restoration, for a new beginning.”
Geist painted the mural for the city’s recent Bayou Terrebonne Tailgate event, which raised funds for storm relief efforts. He finished it in mid-November after about a week of work.
“I invite people to come downtown and check it out for themselves,” he said.
And so far, they have been. As costly post-storm repairs leave many people in Houma without much time or money to spend at museums, Geist’s art is free to see.
“It was one of those — ‘oh, it’s beautiful’ — kind of reactions,” said Laura Browning, an historian who has published multiple books on Terrebonne Parish. “People get to talk about our history, our present and our future because they see the murals, and they inspire them to learn more.”
“Home Sweet Houma” is but the latest addition to this 45-year-old Houma native’s citywide gallery. Other works include “USS Terrebonne Parish LST 1156” near Houma City Hall, “Historic Downtown Houma” outside the Landry Furniture Building, “Local Heroes” at the Regional Military Museum and “The Good Earth” at the Champagne Cosmetology Institute. And shortly after Hurricane Ida, he and his children painted cargo containers outside Cannata’s Market that feature the words “hope” and “believe.”
“I see a blank wall, and to me, it’s a canvas,” Geist said. “I love how people just come up to the murals, the smiles on their faces. It means everything to me.”
To him, it means even more now.
“We’ll come back again,” he said. “Better and stronger.”