Created on January 15, 2024
2118 St Claude Ave, New Orleans, LA 70116, USA

James Booker Mural

James Carroll Booker III (1939 – 1983), called the Piano Prince of New Orleans, the Bayou Maharaja, and the Black Liberace among other titles, was a virtuoso pianist and organist, and a legendary New Orleans character.

This mural was painted by an artist who goes by Preacher, who based it on a photograph by Jim Scheurich. The image, produced through the NOLA Mural Project, shows Booker after he lost his left eye under mysterious circumstances around 1974.

Booker was classically trained in his youth, and cut his first record, a piece of R&B called “Doing the Ham Bone,” under the name Little Booker when he was only 14 years old. He was physically slight, but with long fingers that would allow him to use technically demanding techniques at the keyboard. His apparent fragility made the abundance of his playing seem all the more miraculous.

While he is not a household name, Booker is regarded by many as a genius. Upon hearing a song once he could play it back note for note. On a recording session he once played a pipe organ ahead of the other musicians so precisely that by the time the sound exited the pipes it was right in time with the band.

Preacher—James Booker Mural
Hunted by Meghan.

Marker details

Camera usedCanon EOS 250D
Marker typeartwork
CityNew Orleans
CountryUnited States