Tragedy? Murals at 9th and Q Painted Over in Shaw


A reader writes:

“They painted over all the amazing quotes and phrases like “bienvenu a shaw” and I am bummed! That building brightened my day whenever I drove past. I am glad that it will hopefully be something but sad it will no longer have the same local flavor.”

Here’s what part of it used to look like. If this is a sign that the building will become an actually business or home than I’ll be pretty excited but if it remains vacant then I think this is a tragedy.

24 Comment

  • The earthquake in Haiti is a tragedy

  • Vonstallin

    I thought that was on 9th st… i pass by it everyday for work.

    I do miss it… it’s been up for eions…

  • Are you kidding me? The “local favor” is a sign that reads toujours ferme (trans: permanently closed) on a “cafe” named la putain qui pue (trans: the capable whore).

    Also, I’m pretty sure that at one point the same sign that said “bienvenue a shaw” also used to refer to shaw as an “historic slum.”

  • Speculation is that it’s an attempt to keep the vacant building off the blight list. Given dcra’s willingness to accommodate slum lords, it will probably work

  • Definitely at 9th St. but PoP’s got the right building. Shame, I think I even preferred the murals to actual redevelopment.

  • Agreed. This would be a tragedy if it were not in preparation for new occupancy… Destroying all bright cultural beautification- even replacing our native people with lighter ones. the revolution is now.

  • Ryu – agreed. PoP calling this a “tragedy” is a bit over the top…

  • Putain qui pue isn’t “capable whore”, it’s “stinking whore”. And yes, it also used to say Le Slum Historique.

    I’ve never thought of it as local color. I’ve thought of it as a big F You to the neighborhood. Sell the damned building please. It’s been vacant for years.

  • I’m gonna miss that mural. I know the building is occupied, but not sure what for…anyone have a clue?

  • tragedy? i think we need some perspective here…

  • Screw the nitpickers.
    One man’s tragedy is another man’s house party.
    The decision to re-make Suspiria, now THAT’s a tragedy.

    As for the mural, I’d rather have the mural. With the Slum Historique.

  • Something a lot of you newcomers seem to be missing is that this was an historic whore house way back in the day. Now the mural makes more sense, doesn’t it?

  • The property owner, Mr. Michael Sendar, is avoiding the tax on blighted property…as a resident of the neighborhood, I welcome new paint, but would much rather see him sell this vacant (and still blighted no matter what the DC tax code says) property and allow it to be something other than an eyesore with a new paint job…

  • When was it a whorehouse? I remember when the cult was there. It’s been vacant for over 10 (15?) years now. It’s ridiculous, and Michael Sendar should be ashamed of himself.

  • There was less of an outcry when the painted over the fence that had the “Shaw nature trail” sign painted on it. In case you’re out of the loop, the sign was referring to the stretch of unpaved, dirt sidewalk adjacent to the fence. It was painted over (and the sidewalk was torn up) because they were doing construction in the nearby lot.

    While this sign surely had character, and hopefully they kept the mural with the Woodson quote, whoever did this was most likely a dick. Which, given the dickish atmosphere of the neighborhood (thanks, Shiloh Baptist Church!), is not surprising. Closer observation of the abandoned houses and murals in this neighborhood reveals a lot of bitching and moaning. Lots of little tags like “thanks a lot, DC government,” and “Shaw: 30 years of neglect.” The O street market burned down a few years ago. Didn’t see a lot of outcry from residents over that one, nor was there much organizing to rebuild it a la Eastern Market.

    So, excuse me, princess, if I’m not super sad to see this piece of crap go. I don’t feel guilty for buying a house in a historically black neighborhood at bargain basement prices, renovating it, and selling it to a nice couple that maintains their garden and doesn’t rob the liquor store. I don’t feel guilty for repeating that several times, before repeating it for myself and my family either. You shouldn’t feel guilty for transforming your part of the city either. This anti-gentrification sentiment comes from one of a few places, but usually its an sense that one is being displaced from a community that, for generations, was neglected or abandoned by its members. This is why all those black churches in this neighborhood have congregants with MD license plates. It’s also why these churches fight tooth and nail to kill anything that could upset the balance of things (see: Vegetate’s rent getting tripled, see: Azi getting sued).

    In conclusion, meh. Hopefully they turn it into a dog bakery or bike shop.

    • i wish there was a ‘like’ button on here, facebook style

    • omg, tune it down a notch!

      No one is criticizing anyone for buying a house in Shaw and I don’t see anything here about people wanting to keep it as an abandoned building and not renovated. I think people are more wondering if it will stay abandoned and they just painted over the signs to make the blight a little less noticable.

      I think the signs had a lot of character and have many photos of both the Woodson quote and the Stinky Whore Cafe. And yeah, I’d be really excited to see the building get renovated.

      For what it’s worth, I’m happy PoP is documenting all the quirky signs around town…soon he will have to have a new feature called “Former Sign of the Day, Now it’s…”

    • The O Street Market didn’t burn. The roof gave way under the weight of snow on February 18, 2003 after a weekend blizzard.

    • Woodson quote is gone… That was my favorite part! I live 4 blocks away, and go by this building everyday.

      I really don’t mind that this signals something new to come and I really hope it’s a sit-down restaurant/real deli/NOT carry-out. Still, I wish it wasn’t blah white; in my opinion, if it’s going to be abandoned I’d rather have the murals.

    • amen, amen, amen. it would be nice if a little bit of reporting would happen here and people would find those who painted the murals initially. the “slum historique” stuff was painted by mr. ray, if i remember correctly? please correct me if i’m wrong.

  • Random Q – Does anyone remember the House of Knowledge bookstore that was on Georgia Ave near Kenyon? The whole front of the building looked like a Sphinx, was in 3-D, maybe made of fiberglass? When that came down, that’s when I started taking photos all around town of these places. I would love to see a photo of the House of Knowledge if anyone has one!

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