The Spirit of Giving

Why do we give?  I wonder a bit at the designation, “Giving Tuesday” following Thanksgiving, since every day is an opportunity to give and to better our world!  So, instead of asking for help on behalf of the Life & Legacy Foundation, I am GIVING thanks to those individuals and entities that provided much-needed funding, outstanding meals and accommodations, and tireless, enthusiastic volunteerism, topped off by unexpected and generous press coverage, making the Fall 2021 Life & Legacy Tour the best ever! 

Inspired by the life and art of my late husband, American artist George Rodrigue, this unique, non-profit programming has now reached 101 schools and more than 500 classes in 8 states, engaging nearly 45,000 children through the arts!

Over two days and seven sessions at George Rodrigue’s alma mater, Catholic High in New Iberia, Louisiana, I was able to share his life and art with all 700 students, culminating in a generous donation from the school in support of Life & Legacy’s non-profit programming. The students and teachers also presented me with a unique keepsake book featuring photographs of George from his years at Catholic High. This year marks his 60th anniversary since graduating in 1962, and Catholic High marks my 100th school since establishing the Life & Legacy Foundation in George’s honor in 2017. Video by Douglas Magnus.

Sending my immense gratitude to…..

My husband, Douglas Magnus, who drove George’s art-filled truck 3200 miles in three weeks, hauled and installed the art in 7 locations in Louisiana and Mississippi, photographed and videoed 23 presentations, and supports, in every way, my desire to fulfill and expand this dynamic, hands-on programming!  (He also reminds me….Slept in 13 beds!)

Douglas Magnus and Wendy Rodrigue Magnus at St. Jude the Apostle School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, November 2021

My sister, Heather Parker, who coordinates all scheduling (that’s BIG!), manages Life & Legacy’s website, mailing list, and promotional materials, produces our e-mailers and printing, provides invaluable feedback, and would have dropped everything to join me on the road if needed.  (In fact, she’ll be with me on tour in Alabama and Florida in February 2022!)

Thank you to the Teachers and Students of….

Catholic High School, New Iberia, LA

Returning to George Rodrigue’s alma mater, Catholic High, and reminding these students that they walk the halls where he walked, and that they have the same opportunities and potential to follow their dreams and to make a positive difference in the world, is one of the greatest honors and delights of my life. Photograph by Leslie Westbrook for The Advocate. See more here.

North Lewis Elementary, New Iberia, LA

It was George’s second cousin, Katelyn Huckaby Sarkies, daughter of the cousin he called his sister, Catherine Courrege Huckaby, who reached out to me now two years ago to visit her son’s class at North Lewis Elementary School in New Iberia, Louisiana. What was originally planned for April 2020 was sidelined, along with plans by people everywhere. But I never forgot. And the visit initially requested by George’s family became a priority that ultimately shaped my return to his hometown.
See more here. Photo credit: Douglas Magnus

Church Point High School, Church Point, LA

It can be challenging to catch and hold the attention of high school students. But that was not the case with the perceptive, curious students at Church Point High in Church Point, Louisiana. It was a real honor and joy to spend the day with them during three art and storytelling experiences. See and read more here.
Photo credit: Douglas Magnus

Trinity Episcopal School, New Orleans, LA

Sharing George Rodrigue’s last self-portrait (2013) with students at Trinity Episcopal School in New Orleans. Held in Trinity Episcopal Church, the setting for this series of presentations was stunning. And the children could not have been more attentive and engaged. See and read more here. Photo credit: Douglas Magnus

St. Martin School, Ocean Springs, MS

A highlight of this particular visit was the student art inspired by George Rodrigue. At St. Martin School in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, the children found their own directions and tapped their imaginations to express their unique creative worlds. For more, don’t miss the video on the Life & Legacy Facebook page, linked here. Pictured: Douglas Magnus holds Rodrigue’s “It Was a Cold Night” (2009), while students share their artworks, created with the loving encouragement of their teacher, Mrs. Virginia McLoughlin (right). For more photos from this special day, visit here.

St. Jude the Apostle School, Baton Rouge, LA

See a full collection of photos here from this joyous day with students at St. Jude the Apostle School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where I was so mesmerized by their art projects inspired by Rodrigue, and also by their paintings of adobe architecture, that I was almost late for class! Photo credit: Douglas Magnus

Thank you to these friends, organizations, and media for their generous support of the Fall 2021 Tour:

Sandra Crake, Baton Rouge; Mike and Kori Telich, Baton Rouge; Nancy Broadhurst, Crowley; Mickey and Tiffany Bellott, New Iberia; Katelyn Huckaby Sarkies, New Iberia; Catherine Courrege Huckaby, New Iberia; Marguerite Knight, Houma; Ellen Macomber, New Orleans; Pamela George and Paul Easterwood, Houston

The Bayou Chateau, New Iberia; The Occasional Wife, New Orleans; Telich Custom Homes, Baton Rouge; Gambel Communications, New Orleans; St. James Place Retirement Community, Baton Rouge

The Daily Iberian, New Iberia; Country Roads Magazine, Baton Rouge; Biz New Orleans Magazine; Louisiana Life Magazine; The Advocate, Baton Rouge, Lafayette and New Orleans; Positively Iberia and KANE Radio, New Iberia; KSMB and KXKC Radio, Lafayette; WWL-TV, New Orleans; WLOX-TV, Biloxi

Catholic High School, New Iberia, Louisiana.
Photograph by Leslie Westbrook for The Advocate

Wishing you and yours an inspiring, art-filled holiday season. May you be immersed in the JOY of GIVING!


Life & Legacy, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that engages children of all ages to explore their own imaginative potential through the arts. For information on supporting this special programming, inspired by the life and art of George Rodrigue, please visit here.

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