With this drawing, I wanted to celebrate a small slice of the places and faces who have made 23rd and Union their home throughout the block’s history:

People like Jack Richlen, who spent most of his life running businesses in the Central District until his retirement in the late ’90s, with the “Kick’n Chicken” he dished up out of Richlen’s Super Mini inspiring more than one musical tribute …

… or Earl Lancaster, who you can still find providing cuts and styles in the Liberty Bank Building across the street from his longtime home in Midtown Center.

Helen Coleman’s oxtails and corn and okra succotash won the hearts (and stomachs!) of legions of fans over three decades and a location change, including Muhammad Ali, Richard Pryor and local jazz luminaries …

… while Carl Thompson Jr.’s Thompson’s Point of View, most recently home to The Neighbor Lady bar, was a treasured community gathering place from the time it opened its doors in 1986 until it closed in 2011.

These are just a few of the people who have dedicated their time and energy to building up a sense of place and community on a corner in the heart of the Central District, whose endurance shaped the city we know today.