Meanwhile, local businessman Carl Eberts, who bought the piece after the world’s fair wrapped up, said he was the sculpture’s owner. Eberts said he had asked then-Mayor Aaron Broussard to store the large bronze, and that he had since lost the paperwork of his ownership, due to damage brought about by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Now Kenner has uncovered more of its lineage. Chief administrative officer Mike Quigley said Eberts did buy the sculpture, but with help from a federal grant requiring the piece to be on public display. And in 1998, Eberts donated the piece to the quasi-public Kenner Development Corp., which in turn donated it to the city, Quigley said.
Benglis approached Kenner, asking for permission to refurbish the sculpture, build a base section that is missing from the original and make a cast of the piece for exhibition, Quigley said. Once the sculpture is restored, he said, Kenner will seek to install it in a water feature — as it was originally displayed at the world’s fair, Quigley said.
On Thursday, the City Council will consider whether to enter into an agreement with Benglis letting her restore the sculpture and make a cast at her own expense. “As soon as the legislation is enacted, Benglis will have the sculpture transported to a New York foundry to restore it,” Quigley said.