Nola, also known as Umbrella Girl or Rain Girl, first appeared in 2008, painted by Banksy on the streets of the Marigny neighbourhood in the city of New Orleans, Louisiana. The first Nola signed print was then subsequently released later that year as a limited edition of 289 signed works, featuring white raindrops. Shortly after, Banksy released another, larger series of prints with a varying the original colours. This new edition included 63 prints with grey rain, 32 with neon orange rain, 31 neon yellow and 66 multicolour rain. All are numbered and signed by the artist.
Three years after the city of New Orleans, nicknamed “Nola”, was struck by Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, Banksy painted a series of fourteen hurricane-related street works in the city. This eponymous print refers to the extensive flooding caused by the hurricane, causing the tragic death of 1,836 people. Nola features a young girl from New Orleans carrying an umbrella. In one of Banksy’s typical twists however, the pouring rain paradoxically appears from within the canopy of the umbrella itself. The girl tentatively extends a cupped hand in obvious confusion, only to find that the umbrella is in fact the source of the downpour, as opposed to offering protection from it.
The Nola stencil was one of Banksy’s most powerful and beautiful stencils in New Orleans, and is the only one from the collection of fourteen street paintings that remains. The rest have been either destroyed, stolen or placed in museums and galleries. The original Nola has been damaged by neglect, vandalism and many theft attempts, after the owner of the building on which it was stencilled estimated its value at $7,000. In 2014, the Nola stencil was even covered with plywood and guarded by a security officer in an attempt to protect it. It is now covered by transparent plexiglass.