Lafayette

Dec 16, 2013 11:25 PM by Erin Steuber

George Rodrigue: Holding onto a Legacy

Cajun culture is continuing to mourn the loss of an icon. Painter George Rodrigue died Saturday at a hospital in Houston after a long battle with cancer. He's best known for his Blue Dog paintings, which have peered at us all at one point or another. Blue Dog launched Rodrigue to worldwide fame, but those closest to him say he never forgot his roots.

It was a friendship, and collaboration, years in the making.

"I first met George when I was in high school, when my father started collecting George's work," said friend and collaborator Donald Begneaud.

Begneaud is an artist, his medium is metal.

"I also got involved with industrial type of work. From time to time I would see George at airports and I would say, lets collaborate. We have to do something together," said Begneaud.

Finally, in 2006 it became a reality when the first three-sided aluminum Blue Dog sculpture was created.

"I was getting to come full circle. As a kid my passion was the air work, and in high school it was artwork," said Begneaud. "So to be able to collaborate with someone as famous as George was a lot of fun."

Each one of George Rodrigue's works are now priceless. Those who have a piece of that legacy are holding on, to include life-long friend former Governor Kathleen Banco.

"Losing George Rodrigue is a terrible loss for Louisiana. It's especially meaningful for South Louisiana because it focused on depicting Cajun life in so many aspects. I don't think we ever thought about the wonderful atmosphere we created just by being ourselves, and George did," said Blanco.

Funeral arrangements are now set for Rodrigue. A public mass will be held at 10:30 Thursday morning at St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans. Archbishop of New Orleans Gregory Aymond will officiate. Visitation will follow the mass until 2:30 that afternoon. Then Friday, burial and graveside services will be held at one o'clock, at Holy Family Cemetery in New Iberia.

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