Jenny Burman Jenny Burman
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from Echo Park

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Lady of the Lake


Photo: Echo Park Historical Society

The Lady of the Lake is a long story. The Deco statue symbolizes many things, not the least a renewed sense of dedication to restoration and revival for landmarks in Echo Park. The Echo Park Historical Society explains, "Sculpted in the Art Deco style by artist Ada Mae Sharpless, the statue’s official name is 'Nuestra Reina de Los Angeles' (Queen of the Angels). But most people refer to the statue as the 'Lady of the Lake.'"

In the 1980s, the city dumped her, graffiti marred and broken in places, into a box in a stockyard. But, in the '90s neighborhood activist Suzanne Kimbrough began an effort to bring her back. With the help of EPHS, among others, the Lady was repaired and returned to a pedestal at Echo Park Lake, where she has been appreciated ever since. As well as mistreated. Last year, she lost her hand, as Dakota reported in May on Curbed LA.

So, okay, our Lady lost her hand. She needs repairs. And it's up to us, the neighborhood, to see that done. Simple enough. Unless you have a neighborhood council at war with itself as well as with vocal groups in the neighbohood. Racial divisions, class conflict, historical perspective -- all of this had nothing to do with the Lady's hand, until very recently when her hand became a new item of contention over at the neighborhood council.

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