UL Alumnus and noted artist George Rodrigue releases a book on his famous "Blue Dog" paintings.

Lafayette’s George Rodrigue, the Cajun artist who made a cerulean canine famous with his “Blue Dog” paintings, has a new book on the market in honor of Tiffany, his “studio dog-turned-model,” the inspiration for his work. Titled Blue Dog Speaks, this collection of Blue Dog paintings was compiled to not only showcase the work, but provide titles to all the paintings as well.

"Blue Dog Speaks is the first book to emphasize my titles alongside the works,+ Rodrigue writes in the introduction. "In previous books, the titles were relegated to small italicized lines or indexes — or worse, not included at all. The mere fact that this book gives the titles the same prominence and space as the paintings, gives the reader a new understanding of the titles’ importance."

The book’s 14 chapters are significantly different from the other, besides the fact that the Blue Dog remains in each one, of course. There is “Born on the Bayou” with its Cajun references and sleepy oak trees (another Rodrigue trademark) and “Masquerade” related to Carnival and a few other occasions where wearing masks and costumes fits.

Chapter 13, titled “Hurricane,” collects the works that Rodrigue created as fundraisers after Hurricane Katrina, such as “We Will Rise Again” with the Blue Dog under water wearing a Red Cross insignia with an American flag behind or “To Stay Alive We Need Levee 5” to encourage Congress to appropriate funds to rebuild New Orleans’ levees to withstand a category 5 hurricane. “Throw Me Something F.E.M.A.” with the Blue Dog in a Mardi Gras mask says it all.

Even Chapter 4 seems to have hurricane references, appropriately titled “Spiraling Out” and containing spirals behind our favorite canine. There’s “Hurricane Romance” and “Eye of the Hurricane” and the haunting “It Was a Bad Night.”

The book concludes with a patriotic assortment of Blue Dogs titled “Red, White & Blue,” giving us hope that things will get better, although I had to wonder what Rodrigue’s message was in the last paintings of “Friendly Cats,” with one orange cat to the left of the Blue Dog and two black cats to the right.

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