Three years after Santa Barbara kicked the boy and his pet gator out into the proverbial cold and off the wall of Santa Barbara’s Cajun Kitchen, the mural of a boy drinking a cup of coffee riding an alligator is back.
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Sitting proudly atop his scaled steed and sipping a steaming cup of coffee is Gator Boy, the subject of the mural on the Cajun Kitchen’s parking lot wall.
The mural was painted earlier this year by artist Curt Crawshaw, and has captivated many in the community. Cajun Kitchen co-owner Juan Jimenez commissioned the painting as part of his re-branding initiative.
However, Jimenez did not obtain approval before having the mural painted, and has recently been forced to fight to keep it on display.The city contacted Jimenez during the summer to inform him and his co-owner that the mural would have to be painted over unless they applied for the proper permits.
“Gator Boy” may be forced to ride into that good night after a recent complaint to City Hall sparked an official review of the mural on the north side of Chapala Street’s Cajun Kitchen Café. Unless café co-owner Juan Jimenez can convince city officials that the bayou-and-breakfast-inspired imagery should remain a permanent fixture of Santa Barbara’s highly regulated, historic downtown corridor, the popular piece of public art will come down next August.