Match Race

“The straight sprints raced in heats or in match races where the two riders would balance for long seconds on their machines for the advantage of making the other rider take the lead and then the slow circling and the final plunge into the driving purity of speed.” –Ernest Hemingway* Because life intended it thisContinue reading “Match Race”

Landlocked Pirogues & Blue Dog’s Eyes (The Art of Improvisation)

“People are moving in time and in history, in a pirogue, on land…”  …wrote George Rodrigue in 1975 about his painting, John Courrege’s Pirogue. The painting is one of seventy-eight images featured in the book The Cajuns of George Rodrigue, the first book published nationally on the Cajun culture (Oxmoor House, 1976, detailed here).  FromContinue reading “Landlocked Pirogues & Blue Dog’s Eyes (The Art of Improvisation)”

Farmer’s Market

Since the early 1970s George Rodrigue set out to preserve on his canvas Louisiana’s Cajun heritage.  Following his return to New Iberia from art school in Los Angeles, he noticed dramatic changes in the southwest parishes, and he feared that the Cajuns, his people, faded quickly as a distinct culture within America. Growing up, heContinue reading “Farmer’s Market”

The Mamou Riding Academy: Fact or Fiction

“One summer a German mule trader struggled to sell his last white mule.  A farmer finally bought it for his daughter, and the daughter liked it so much that her friends each wanted one.  In the end, the mule trader sold nine mules to nine fathers of nine little girls.” That’s the story of theContinue reading “The Mamou Riding Academy: Fact or Fiction”

The Secret of Pirate Lafitte’s Gold

“O’er the glad waters of the dark blue sea, Our thoughts as boundless, and our souls as free, Far as the breeze can hear, the billows foam, Survey our empire and behold our home!”  –Lord Byron, 1814, The Corsair By 1974 George Rodrigue pursued a unique, self-invented style of American genre painting, typified by hardContinue reading “The Secret of Pirate Lafitte’s Gold”

Doctor on the Bayou

There was a time, other than The Waltons and Little House on the Prairie, that doctors made house calls. A time before waiting rooms and diagnostic centers and ten minute speed-treating, when doctors traveled to homes in the middle of the night, held their patient’s hand, and worried alongside panicked relatives. There was also aContinue reading “Doctor on the Bayou”

The Cajun Bride of Oak Alley

By the mid-1970s George Rodrigue spent his days scouting for subjects and his nights painting the Cajun culture. He concentrated on area traditions, such as The Aioli Dinner and The Traiteur (Cajun faith healer), famous locations such as Broussard’s Barber Shop and The Ragin’ Cajun Antiques, and legendary figures such as Jolie Blonde and Longfellow’sContinue reading “The Cajun Bride of Oak Alley”

Broussard’s Barber Shop (Melding Fact with Fiction)

After painting the Aioli Dinner in 1971, George Rodrigue’s confidence soared in rendering not only the Cajun figures, but also a style all his own. During the six months it took to complete the painting, he developed specific rules for himself, things separate from and often contradictory to the established rules of art. He wouldContinue reading “Broussard’s Barber Shop (Melding Fact with Fiction)”

Boudreaux in a Barrel

As any Louisiana joke teller knows, the two lead characters of most Cajun stories are Boudreaux and Marie. They might venture out fishing with a roll of duct tape or accidentally hit a skunk with their truck. Maybe Marie catches old man Boudreaux’s attention with her pot of gumbo, or perhaps Boudreaux waits until theirContinue reading “Boudreaux in a Barrel”