Ambling along the streets of New Orleans on a warm summers day and I happened upon a familiar blue face. Although I’d never seen it in the UK, once we got to Louisiana it had appeared in various motels and on pin badges and I decided I must find out more…
The George Rodrigue Gallery offered a cool haven and artworks in lots of different media, but the same recurring theme, a wide-eyed blue dog. The lady manning the fort was very helpful, attentive and asked us if why had any questions, my response, ‘Why the blue dog?’. She explained that Mr Rodrigue had a strong Cajun influence in his art and wanted to incorporate the Loup-Garou of Louisiana folklore, this is a wolf like creature said to prowl the swamps. At the same time the artist’s dog died so he combined the two and seemingly hasn’t looked back.
We Will Rise Again by George Rodrigue
The painting I had seen in several motels was created days after he temporarily relocated the gallery following Hurricane Katrina. It depicts the blue dog partly submerged with red eyes, which are usually painted yellow. The painting helped raise funds for the Red Cross. He created numerous more artworks to help fund the rebuilding of New Orleans.The image above was on a light box with various layers, the picture doesn’t do it justice. Don’t those eyes just glare at you?
In 2009 he started the George Rodrigue Foundation which promotes the use of visual arts for youth development, a noble cause indeed. You can read more at the artist’s website and on his wife, Wendy Rodrigue’s blog You may also recognise the blue dog from an Absolut Vodka campaign..
Location: 730 Royal Street, New Orleans, LA 70116