Tunnel Tour

Patrick Renner's Funnel Tunnel Lives on in NOLA

The Houston artist's colorful installation finds a new home in the Big Easy.

By Nick Esquer June 25, 2015

Image: Dave Salinas

Remember the colorful, winding art piece that sat in the middle of the road in Montrose so long, it felt like it had always been there? The one that turned Houstonians into real-life Frogger characters, scampering across the street from the Art League Houston to take selfies in front of? The one that looked like the skeleton of Falkor from The Neverending Story? Of course you do. And yes, we miss it, too.

Image: Barry Tse

The good news is, you can drive a few hours east to relive the memories, as Houston artist Patrick Renner's much-loved Funnel Tunnel installation lives on, having found a new home in New Orleans.

This new incarnation of the serpentine figure is made from the same tangled steel and scrapwood reclaimed from an old cotton gin, flecked and painted all the colors of the rainbow, but it's 155 feet long, 25 shorter than the Houston version (#EverythingIsBiggerInTexas). The work landed in the Big Easy this past weekend, assembled by Renner and local volunteers piece by piece on a street median under a freeway overpass, in the Poydras Corridor. (Now that we think of it, the thing looks like a jazz trumpet.)

Since Nola.com has reported on its premiere, the reactions from locals have been positive. "It's really cool!" says one commenter. Another art lover pointed out that it "looks like Chinese handcuffs to me. Just sayin'..." Just sayin' is right! And, finally: "How far will it fly during the next hurricane?" 

Funnel Tunnel, we love you. You're welcome back in H-Town anytime. 


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