Utility Box Painting Permit

The City of New Orleans' Utility Box Painting Program aims to raise awareness of and promote local civic and community events in a high-impact, place-based manner. Local organizations will be allowed to paint and aesthetically improve City-owned utility box cabinets under certain conditions and specifications if first approved in writing by the City as detailed below. Utility box cabinets and other City-owned assets may not be altered without the City's approval.

The City may regulate the content of utility box painting to ensure that they effectuate the purpose of promoting local events, occasions, or community ambassadors that have a direct and substantial civic or community benefit, and impose other time, place, and manner restrictions necessary to protect City property, City benefits, welfare of the citizenry, and public safety. Utility boxes, regardless of whether they are painted, are the property of the City of New Orleans.


Use of City Property

  • The use of City-owned assets through the Utility Box Painting Program is a privilege that the City is proud to offer. The City maintains the right to reject any application for the use of its property if the proposed artwork will not raise awareness of or promote an event, individual or group, or occasion that has a direct and substantial local, civic, or community benefit, or will not benefit the citizens of New Orleans.
    • Content for any purpose other than promotion of a civic community event, occasion, or ambassador is prohibited.
  • The City reserves a right of first refusal to use its property for City-sponsored events at any time.
  • In the event that the City plans to replace the utility box or there are conflicts with an approved application before the artwork is installed, the applicant will be afforded either alternative locations or the opportunity to re-apply for another utility box location.
  • Sponsor names are allowed in the painting, but artwork may only display corporate/sponsor names or similar endorsements if such logo or endorsement does not comprise more than 5 percent of the space of the artwork.


  • Utility box paintings may be displayed for a maximum of five years, until the painting begins to show wear, or if the painting is illegible or damaged, whichever comes first.
    • A City designee will determine if a box requires touch-up or repainting.
    • The City may require removal of paintings that show extensive wear.
  • The City may grant extensions for limited purposes, including for the purpose of promoting events that receive public funding, or districts that have a direct and substantial civic or community benefit.
  • The City may grant extensions for limited purposes, including for the purpose of promoting events that receive public funding, or districts that have a direct and substantial civic or community benefit.


  • Painting the utility boxes is the responsibility of the applicant.
  • Artwork must be installed according to the City's specifications set forth below, and match the artwork submitted during the application process.
  • Artwork not installed per City specification and/or deemed to be a public safety hazard will be removed, and the cost of the removal will be the applicant's responsibility.
  • Any contractor or artist hired for painting shall consider safety and proximity to railways, and electrical certifications if such artwork is being installed near streetcars.
  • Utility boxes in active construction zones may not be painted until construction is completed. The Department of Public Works is authorized to grant a waiver to this requirement.
  • Utility boxes painted for the purpose of promoting a hospital district, business district, or educational institution should be installed no more than six blocks away in any direction from the district or institution being promoted.  The City retains discretion to allow exceptions to the six block radius guideline.
  • Paintings may not mimic traffic lights, traffic signs, streetlights, public utility lines, street names, and/or parking limitations.
  • Paintings may not impede traffic or transportation.


  • Standard utility boxes are 44" wide, 64" tall, and 26" deep, and each cabinet houses valuable safety equipment. The exact cabinet size may vary.
  • Applicants are responsible for confirming cabinet dimensions.
  • Each box contains a locking mechanism - the artwork may not obstruct, or delay or prevent access to the box at any time.
  • The applicant is responsible for the design and maintenance of the artwork.
  • Artwork that fails to meet the design specifications will not be allowed to be installed.


  • The applicant will be responsible for the maintenance, replacement, and upkeep of artwork while installed on the City of New Orleans' utility boxes.
  • The City shall not be responsible for loss or damage to the artwork from any cause.
  • The City may, without notice, remove boxes that are damaged or otherwise obsolete at any time.
  • Utility boxes, and elements of the boxes that require replacement, will be salvaged to the greatest extent possible and stored at the City's Sign and Signal Shop.
    • If possible, elements of the box will be used at other locations, as needed.
    • Elements of the salvaged cabinets, regardless of whether they are painted, are the property of the City
    • The City will not reimburse any group or individual any fees incurred commissioning artwork on the utility box if, for any reason, the box is damaged or becomes obsolete.
  • The applicant will be responsible for all costs to repair damages to the cabinet caused by installation, while installed, and removal of the artwork on the City of New Orleans utility boxes.


$50 application fee

Required Documents

  • Utility Box Painting Application and Program Information
    • Applications must be submitted no less than 45 days prior to scheduled painting activities, weather permitting.
    • Approved applications are valid for one year.
  • Reservations for specific locations may be made up to six months in advance.
  • Required information:
    • Location of the desired utility box (if applying online, find the closest municipal address to the utility box, e.g. an address at the same intersection).
    • Current photograph of the desired utility box.
    • Artwork specifications, such as materials to be used.
    • A title of the proposed artwork
    • A scaled image that depicts the artwork design and content.
    • Name and contact information of the organization sponsoring or funding painting of the utility box.
    • Name and contact information of the artist painting the utility box.
    • A copy of general liability insurance in the amount of $1,000,000, naming the City of New Orleans as an additional insured or indemnity.
    • Execution of a Hold Harmless Agreement will be required before approval and issuance of a permit.

Apply Online

Apply now


Department of Public Works
1300 Perdido St, Room 6W03
New Orleans, LA 70112
(504) 658-8000

Service provided by

Traffic Division

(504) 658-8040 Email
1300 Perdido Street 6W03 New Orleans, LA 70112

The Traffic Division manages the City's traffic engineering functions by maintaining and replacing pavement markings, and maintaining, replacing, installing and repairing street signs (name and directional) and traffic signals. This division is responsible for issuing street closure permits and other related permits.