As far back as Craishyne Magraff can remember, her younger brother Craig drew, painted, wrote, or made music, and he felt more at home on the Bell Artspace campus than perhaps anywhere else he had lived. previously.
That’s what made the post informing her that Craig had been stabbed to death outside his Treme apartment last week particularly cruel.
“He was very creative, very artistic,” Craishyne Magraff said Monday. “That side of him brought him to that apartment.”
The apartment is on the avenue des Ursulines.
New Orleans police allege Craig Magraff Jr., 34, and another man were each armed with knives when they fought at the Bell Complex in the 2100 block of Ursulines Avenue around 1:55 a.m. on January 19. Magraff was stabbed during the confrontation and pronounced dead at the scene, police say.
Craishyne Magraff, 37, said police have since told her they have a suspect in the murder. But authorities have not announced an arrest or discussed a possible motive for the deadly fight. The former public school where he lived was converted in 2018 into affordable apartments and workspace for artists.
While waiting for answers, Magraff’s sister said she reflects on the path her brother took to the building where his life ended.
Craig knew how to draw before he knew how to write, inheriting their father’s artistic spirit, she said. Early on, he began to demonstrate his ability to paint or draw complex scenes and images that he imagined, rather than what he saw.
“I was always jealous of the way he came up with concepts, straight out of his head and onto paper,” said Craishyne Magraff.
As he grew older and worked his way through Warren Easton High School and LSU, Craig Magraff showed a talent for writing and music.
Magraff, who signed up on LinkedIn as the ffounder and CEO of So-Called Media, wrote freelance articles, sold her art and worked on movie sets, doing everything from transporting performers to checking lighting, her sister said. He also dabbled in writing movie scripts and recorded himself rapping or playing guitar, always looking for new ways to express himself. He even taught high school in New York after graduating from college, she said.
“He liked people being informed and he wanted to be the person to make sure the story was told correctly,” Craishyne Magraff said. “He always sought the truth – in everything he did.”
Living your passions has not always been easy. In a Facebook post he made on New Year’s Eve 2021, he alluded to periods of homelessness and the need to rely on the kindness of others to survive.
“I was in the most painful and vulnerable position of my life,” he wrote. “But to all the people who took the time to be kind to me, to welcome me, to nurture me, to let me be vulnerable, to deceive me sometimes, to forgive me, to give me a place to stay, to feel my pain, to endure my agony – you are all the people I will never forget.
Craishyne Magraff said living at Bell and its artist-friendly units was a natural fit. “They were nice people who went to the same place for the same reason,” she said.
But she knew something was wrong when she couldn’t get a response to texts or phone calls from her brother, who usually answered within minutes. Finally, on Saturday, a Bell resident contacted her through a Facebook post and told her that Craig had been killed.
She said her family spent Monday meeting with investigators from the coroner’s office and police. Then they faced the grueling task of funeral arrangements.
“He was the sweetest, humblest and most impressive person,” Craishyne Magraff said. “He was everything you could want in a little brother.”
She added: “He had a lot to look forward to and a lot to do – he was far from done.”
A man in the truck was shot dead and taken to hospital.