BATON ROUGE, LA (WVLA) — World-renowned artist George Rodrigue, appointed twice as Louisiana's Artist Laureate, died Saturday.
Rodrigue, a New Iberia native, gained acclaim for his series of paintings of blue dogs.
His charitable work began in 2001, with a painting to commemorate the 9/11 attacks. It eventually became the George Rodrigue Foundation for the Arts, which was instrumental in the recovery of New Orleans after Hurrican Katrina, and has donated $2.5 million. Rodrigue also launched an art contest for Louisiana high school students, which has awarded $150,000 since its inception.
“His work made him an ambassador for our state and a renowned artist, but he never forgot his Louisiana roots," Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA) said. "Indeed, there are countless stories and examples of his charity work to help the people of Louisiana. Without question, his paintings will live on, but his legacy will be much more than paint on a canvas."
Gov. Jindal named Rodrigue the state's Artist Laureate for the first time in 2008, and then again in 2012.
“In many Louisiana homes next to a fleur de lis, you'll find a George Rodrigue Blue Dog painting. It is a testament to his artistic ability to illustrate the character and spirit of the Cajun culture and Louisiana on canvas,” Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) said. “While we will miss him dearly, his classic paintings will remain with us to serve as a reminder of our state's rich heritage and culture. That is a true and lasting legacy we can all be grateful for.”
"It is with deepest sympathy that we reflect on the life and contributions to the state of Louisiana made by George Rodrigue,” said Roger Villere, chairman of the Republican Party of Louisiana. "His legacy will be remembered in our hearts. We truly admire his passion for Louisiana. I personally enjoyed working with him as a member of the Bicentennial Commission to select the official state poster for the bicentennial. I am honored to have called Mr. Rodrigue a friend."
Rodrigue has galleries in New Orleans, Lafayette, and Carmel, CA.
Rodrigue suffered from cancer. He was 69 years old.