Half under water, the Blue Dog floats on an American flag. His head and pointed ears rise above the swirling water, and his normally yellow eyes are red from crying. The Red Cross on his chest is a cry for help, but the signature color of blue that washes over everything is a sign of hope. George Rodrigue's "We Will Rise Again" Hurricane Katrina relief print joins his 9/11 print, "God Bless America," as a way to express his sorrow and raise funds for the American Red Cross. But "We Will Rise Again" is much more of a personal statement.
"It's much closer to home," says Rodrigue. "The Blue Dog was actually born in New Orleans." The city is also the home of Rodrigue's gallery and studio for the past 16 years and birthplace of his wife, Wendy. "The Big Easy remains the 'big city' to my Cajun hometown of New Iberia," he explains in his artist's statement.
Rodrigue was in Houston for the opening of a show when Hurricane Katrina hit. With a truckful of art and no gallery and studio to return to, he headed to Lafayette and found gallery space at 2021 Pinhook Road. The new local gallery is housing about 25-30 original works and prints, with more in a warehouse on Industrial Parkway. The silkscreen relief prints are available from the gallery, open Tuesday through Saturday, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and also at www.georgerodrigue.com. Each print is $500, and proceeds go to the Southeast Louisiana Chapter of the Red Cross. With the sale of the prints, Rodrigue hopes to raise $500 million in one year.
David Calhoun and Elizabeth “EB” Brooks are the first two employees of Lafayette Central Park Inc., the nonprofit charged with turning Lafayette Consolidated Government’s 100-acre Johnston Street Horse Farm property into a passive public park. Calhoun was named executive director, and Brooks is director of planning and design.
There will soon be a whole lot of shakin’ going on at Benny’s Sportshack Supplement Depot, a new concept by Opelousas native Benny Nele. Located at 2002 Johnston St., the supplement shop, smoothie bar and café, featuring hot off the press paninis and wraps, plans to open in late May.