LAFAYETTE, LA – As the sun sets on another Southern Louisiana evening, the skyline is peaceful in it’s silhouettes. But tonight that skyline looks different, as the Lafayette City Council has gifted it’s citizens an Easter surprise this year – with the installation of a 120-ft replica of Christ the Redeemer, complete with wacky inflatable-arms.
The statue, modeled after the authentic version located in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro, has been installed on top of the Chase Bank Tower located downtown, and is made of authentic, low-quality Chinese fiberglass. It’s completely hollow – and kind of looks semi-impressive when you squint in low-light.
City council member Cliff Burns explains how the installation came about.
“Well it all started during a discussion at a council meeting”, he explained, “There were a few older people there who felt that Lafayette was losing it’s religion. So we brainstormed what we could do to demonstrate that we haven’t lost touch with out religious roots in these parts. We had a few ideas, such as a parade where we’d nail someone to a cross and berate him as he walks down Johnston Street, or perhaps a last supper at Mel’s Diner. But this was the idea that most members got behind.”
And Burns says that despite the tough financial times in the area, he thinks they got a great deal for the piece.
“Funds were – are – very tight”, he said, “So we did a little bit of shopping around and found this one on eBay for $79.95 including shipping, direct from China. We even got a certificate of authenticity for it. It came in a little scratched and dented, but they said no refunds. It’s standard-grade fiberglass, and it came with those really cool wavy inflatable arms that you see in car dealerships. It’s a little lightweight so we’ve anchored it down with some string, and we’re also praying nightly that it doesn’t take too much of a hit from a gust of wind.”
And with the installation, Burns also hopes that this will rejuvenate the practice of religion downtown.
“Obviously the aim is for this to become a major local and global symbol of religion, and a sign of hope and peace that can spread far and wide.”, he said, “We’re hoping people come along and pray, or chant, or dance, or do whatever it is that they’d do in front of a 120-foot fiberglass Jesus with arms that look like he’s having a seizure. It’s there for the people. He’s up there looking out over the city, waving his arms and making sure that Lafayette is kept safe. I think it’s iconic, and hopefully it’ll be here for centuries to come.”