On June 3rd 1962 a chartered Air France Boeing 707 headed for Atlanta crashed on take-off at Orly Airport in Paris, killing 130 people on board. At the time it was the world’s worst aviation disaster. After the crash outpouring of support came from all over the country. Within short time millions of dollars had been donated on behalf of the Atlanta Arts Association. That led to the construction of the Memorial Arts Center which later became, what is today known as, the Woodruff Art Center.
In 1968 the site received a gift from France. A bronze casting of a full sized man – Auguste Rodan’s “The Shade” given in memory of those who died. The statue stands next to a plaque with all the names of those who died in Paris that day. It’s back is to the Woodruff Campus, his head tilts to the side as he looks out over Peachtree Street.
Listen here for a WABE story on the Orly plane crash.