Written by Walter Pierce
Wednesday, 31 March 2010
I knew Kent Hutslar only well enough to envy his talent, and to marvel at the remarkable ease with which he moved through the world. He could bend your ear for 30 minutes about the latest photographic technique he was drawn to or the music he was digging before you could get in a word edgewise. Just nod, smile and let Kent ramble.
He died Saturday morning after spending nearly a week in University Medical Center with what began as a fever and cough and turned into a pneumonia he couldn’t shake. Kent contracted hepatitis while working in the oilfield 30 years ago as an industrial nurse. Who knew this about Kent, that he was a nurse before he was a professional photographer? I surely did not. In 2007 his liver cashed in its chips, as the livers of hepatitis patients are wont to do, and in 2008 he underwent a procedure to hold him over while he waited for a transplant. Kent died waiting.
It is fair to say that his passing leaves a formidable crater on Lafayette’s art landscape. Time will soften its edges, mute its contours, but right now the crater gapes. A raw, throbbing wound.
Kent came into The Ind office about six or eight months ago. I don’t know why he was here, but he cast a long, amiable shadow as he made his way around the office chatting with the natives. Out of my cubicle for a cup of coffee we practically ran into one another. I hadn’t seen him for months, and that was from afar at a festival or an ArtWalk. I didn’t know he was sick. I mentioned a recent series of panoramic photos he had done on downtown Lafayette, how impressive they were. That got him started. We talked — honestly, he talked; I did the nodding and the smiling — for about 15 minutes then he shuffled off into the blur of Jefferson Street.
I was one of many who was in Kent’s outer orbit, pulled, I knew always, by his gravitational heft, but unfortunately never deep enough in the gyre to discern his geography. I was a little intimidated by Kent, I’ll admit. He was an artist of the first order, but he never made a pretense of being an artist. You saw his work and you knew. He made me and many others feel like equals. I was always pretty certain that I wasn’t an equal. Not of Kent’s. Maybe of some of the others.
I only found out after he died that he was both an Eagle Scout and a veteran of the Air Force. I know the former served him well in the latter. As his stamina waned over the last several months he turned to Facebook as a way to stay in touch and share his interests and insights.
I spoke Monday morning with Kent’s wife, Gwyn, who was remarkably composed 48 hours after Kent’s death. The occasional ripple in her voice told me I was catching her between waves of anguish. But she was calm and grateful for the outpouring from the community. It sustained her, she said.
“As hard as it was for me to tell him it was OK for him to go,” Gwyn said of Kent’s final hours, “I had to tell him that because he was tired, and I could see that he was tired. I just wanted him to know that I was going to be OK — I would be OK — and it was OK for him to go. And he’s with me, I know he’s with me. I can feel him all around me, I absolutely can feel him all around me.”
A week before The Independent became my employer in March 2009, I wrote an in memoriam for Vince Marino, a former editor. Now I write one for Kent Hutslar. I will ask of friends whose talent is beyond my abilities but not beyond my admiration, please talk among yourselves and agree that only one of you dies per year. I can’t bear to write columns like this with any greater frequency.
OK, so they’re bentgrass, the type used on golf course greens. But grass is grass.
Jefferson Street restaurant and pub debuts during Festival with limited menu.
The Senate Finance Committee approved the bill Wednesday, despite opponents who argued it would shut down the storefront lenders.
A measure to allow the state to implement its own, less stringent plan for limiting carbon dioxide emissions unanimously passed the Senate.
FDA to regulate e-cigarettes, Jodie Foster gets married, Vermont to require labels on genetically-modified food, and more news for today, April 24, 2014.
Thursday's Blogs from the Bog!
A push to expand Louisiana's Medicaid program as allowed under the federal health care has been overwhelmingly rejected by the Senate health committee.
See which events are taking place during INNOV8 Lafayette this Thursday.
It’s on, y’all. Fest fIND, our annual Festival International de Louisiana reader contest, is now accepting photo submissions.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Louisiana welfare recipients would be prohibited in state law from spending the federal assistance at lingerie shops, tattoo parlors, nail salons and jewelry stores, under a bill that received the support Wednesday of a House committee.
Senators will consider whether to prohibit private businesses in Louisiana from paying unequal wages to employees of different genders for the same job.
Rep. Joel Robideaux has delayed bill hearings and said unless a compromise can be reached, he won't bring up the legislation this session.
Once again, Lafayette Parish School Board President Hunter Beasley is focused on an issue that has nothing to do with the educational well-being of our public school children.
Fashion and music make great bedfellows
Producers, manufacturers, restaurants and chefs host roundtable and tasting
After exhausting his appeals all the way to the state Supreme Court, the owner of the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete has no legal remedy left save one: do an end run around the high court via a bill that would grandfather his “right” to keep a 550-pound tiger enclosed in a pin at his roadside business.
Louisiana poet Darrell Bourque has won the 2014 Louisiana Writer Award, given annually to recognize outstanding contributions to Louisiana's literary and intellectual life.
Drivers would have to secure dogs riding in truck beds while on interstate highways, if the Senate agrees to a bill backed by the House.
The easy one-piece way to style
Comfy feet for long days
Newsy bits for the whole fam
Don't forget: our annual Festival International contest begins Thursday! Win. Cool. Stuff.
An effort to prohibit employers from discriminating based on sexual orientation or gender identity was shelved Tuesday for the legislative session.
Louisiana won't lessen its penalties for marijuana possession, keeping laws on the books that allow people to be jailed up to 20 years for repeat offenses of having the drug in hand.
State bar foundation bestows honor on founder and managing partner of NeunerPate
This Wednesday, April 23, marks the first full day of INNOV8 Lafayette.
National awards recognize outstanding achievement in leadership development and leadership programs
A federal court magistrate has issued a seven-page schedule of hearings, conferences and deadlines leading up to January’s trial aimed at determining how much money BP will owe in Clean Water Act fines as a result of its 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
“This is one of the oldest divides that exists, and that divide is about the haves and the have-nots.”