Apex point - © Robert Sommers 2024

Monday, September 18, 2023

Visit to Barrio Logan

A friend asked me to take a shot of a mural down in Chicano Park that a friend of his had something to do with. 

I hadn't been to Barrio Logan in a long time and it is an hour from here but I finally made time yesterday morning.

I like Chicano Park and the whole Logan Heights community. 

My old boss, Lou Orrantia, grew up there. 

Chicano Park has so many more murals than the last time I visited and it was actually a great celebration of color and culture. lots of little shrines, flowers and offerings.

I had a lot of fun. I took my normal lens and a 12mm fish eye and just played around with shapes and bends. 

There are some very interesting sightlines. 

I also shot a couple of interesting characters, like this man. Love his hat!

Logan Heights is a longtime hispanic neighborhood that began with an influx of refugees from the Mexican Revolution in 1910. It has been a dumping ground for San Diego businesses that like to pollute in places where people have little political power.

Junkyards and chrome shops, things like that.

Chicano Park is overseen by the private Chicano Park Steering Committee. It houses the largest collection of outdoor murals in our entire nation.

It's history is interesting.
The construction of Interstate-5 in the 1960s bifurcated Logan Heights and displaced residents. It was one in a long series of injustices and insults to the predominantly Latino community that had been battling an influx of junkyards setting up shop next to homes because of the area’s zoning laws.  

Then the building of the San Diego Coronado Bay Bridge displaced more families and below left massive concrete pillars. Residents urged the city to build a community park – and the city promised to do so.  
The whole community is peppered with colorful murals, a tradition in the latino community dating back to Diego Rivera, Orozco and Siqueiros in the 1920's. The murals do not shy away from themes of social justice.

Do you remember my writing last week about the Salk Institute's plans to kill the magnificent sightline view that Louis Kahn created on the meridians? 

Well, think how nice the view would be if Cal Trans got rid of the awful square box under the bridge?

I wouldn't hold your breath.


I met some friends who live in Coronado, Chip and Cecilia, at a restaurant I found on Yelp after my shoot. Todo pa' la cruda

I think it loosely translates as something for your head after the hangover. 

They had never eaten there before, usually eating at the mariscos restaurant across the street. 

I had thought about the Salvadoran restaurant nearby but this place had both white and green posole and I have not had the green in a long time.

It was delicious. We ordered the posole and birria tacos. The posole came with a plate of everything, including chicharrones and a chicken taquito. 

Chip ordered the shrimp.

Cecilia and I had some mandarin drinks.

I know that I am prone to hyperbole but I think I can safely say that you can not find Mexican food of this quality in our area outside of Barrio Logan. 

They have set a high bar, at places like this and Cuatro Milpas. I would return in a heartbeat.

But the most stunning thing I have to share happened during my meal. 

I felt a light tapping on my back and a little hispanic girl at the next table said hello. I said hi back. 

Her mother and compatriots were shocked. Their eyes were wide open. 

You see, we were then told that the young girl does not speak. 

I asked if she was on the spectrum, the mother's english was not very good but she shook her head in the affirmative. 

She does not talk to anyone but her mother, never to strangers or anybody else.

But she couldn't stop smiling and talking to me and even said goodby when they left. 

Tapped on my back throughout the meal.

Made me feel wonderful, best part of the day.

I made a new friend.

Toda pa' la cruda

2851 Imperial Ave

San Diego, CA 92102

(619) 919-5096


I want to go back again on a sunny day, get some more shots, explore the community and eat some more food. Was a very nice Sunday.


Valerie Tate said...

This adorable little girl recognized a truly beautiful soul (YOU)! What a fabulous day you had...and the photos are fabulous. I love this bright, cheery artwork!

Blue Heron said...

Really enjoyed this piece on Barrio Logan!
The photos really show off the beautiful colorful murals at these architecturally unique spots.
We tend to forget about or take the time to explore many of the unique and enriching spots of captivating culture in SD County.
Thanks for reminding us!

Blue Heron said...

I’ve been to barrio Logan and Chicano Park a couple of times recently, and never been able to take a good picture there, just not smartphone compatible I don’t think. The scale of everything is so big.

Anyway, good story about the little girl. I talk to you sometimes, does that mean I’m on the spectrum…?