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Lewis MacAdams monument honors the patron and poet of the L.A. River

ELYSIAN VALLEY —  A new monument honoring Lewis MacAdams, the poet who raised awareness and appreciation for the long-derided Los Angeles River, was installed a few weeks ago near the waterway MacAdams has championed.

A representation of the 7-foot-high, tinted concrete monument by sculptor Eugene Daub was displayed during  a ceremonial unveiling last October. But the completed monolith, which features a relief of MacAdams wearing his trademark pork pie hat, was finally installed in January with little fanfare.

Daub usually works in bronze, but he told the L.A. Times that the material just didn’t seem right for the MacAdams monument.

“Almost everything I do is in bronze …. But in this case, concrete seemed appropriate since Lewis has campaigned so hard for its removal from the L.A. River channel.”

The location of the monument reflects the changes unleashed by MacAdams and his movement.

It’s placed on the edge of an expanded Marsh Park, one of the new green spaces that have been created next to the river channel.  Behind the monument on the other side of a fence rises a new, 52-unit condominium complex. It’s part of a surge of development and investment that has been pouring into Elysian Valley and other riverside communities to capitalize of the revitalized river.

The four-sided monument is embellished with images of heron, toads, fish and other elements of river wildlife.

The monument also serves as a reminder that while MacAdams is best known for this river advocacy, he is also an accomplished poet whose work has been inspired by the waterway.

Here’s a snippet  of his poetry inscribed  into the monument:

“The river
is a rigorous mistress,
but when you tickle her
with your deeds, you can hear laughter
from beneath her concrete corset.”

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3 comments

  1. The bronze statue complements the homeless encampments lining the river very nicely.

  2. G Elysian Valley

    As a long time resident of Elysian Valley, I am very upset that Councilman Mitch O’Farrell Mayor Eric Garcetti, Mountains Recreation & Conservation Authority and the Friends of the Los Angeles River that they would even put up a statue of Lewis MacAdams in Marsh Park after he committed a crime by going in the river. There is an article in the Los Angeles Downtown news on January 16, 2013, where Lewis MacAdams states the following “Part of the performance was going down to the river with wire cutters and cutting a hole in the fence along the river and declaring that the river was now open. It was still the days of the $500 fine or six months in jail.” He clearly understands that he was breaking the law and there were consequences for his actions yet he is rewarded with a statue? What type of message are all our elected officials sending to the stakeholders of the city of LA and more importantly our young stakeholders? When I was growing up if you broke the law you went straight to jail, not get rewarded with a statue for breaking the law. I am really disappointed with Mayor Eric Garcetti and Mitch O’Ferrall for rewarding and promoting the Friends of the Los Angeles River organization that was started by Lewis MacAdams (the Law Breaker). If this is not upsetting enough there is another article in the Los Angeles Downtown News on Dec 2, 2016, with Lewis and Marissa Christiansen who is taking over for Lewis in running the Friends of the LA River organization and Mayor Garcetti holding up the wire cutters Lewis used to break the law. It looks like Mayor Garcetti and Councilman O’Farrell are rewarding people who violate the law with a statue in our public parks. Here is a question to the Mayor and Councilman. When will you be giving all of the inmates in the men’s central jail their statue for breaking the law and a list of the parks they will be putting them in? This is so upsetting to see the Mayor Garcetti and Councilman O’Farrell okaying the breaking of the law and then rewarding the criminals with statues. I want to thank my local Neighborhood Council for not only notifying me about this issue but also writing a letter to the councilman questioning why he supports people who violate the law.

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