One Mermaid was so severly damaged by vandals that she couldn't be fixed.
A sad-eyed mermaid, with a rose in her hair and images of downtown Norfolk on her stomach, the mermaid -- named Spirit -- had briefly occupied a spot near Norfolk International Airport, welcoming visitors to the city and greeting returning residents.
For a long time after she was taken down, her pole remained on the spot as her artist and sponsor tried to decide what to do. (Artist Chris Alexander created another Spirit that brightened city hall). Then, in late October, the damaged mermaid, now named Hope found a home at Lake Taylor Hospital -- a long-term care and nursing care facility with a children's wing.
Bandaged and patched, she no longer greets people zooming by in cars; she lives among them in the center of the hospital's interior courtyard. Since 2001, Hope has had her bandages removed, but continues to inspire the Children of Lake Taylor Hospital.