George Rodrigue, the Cajun artist best known for the "Blue Dog" image, has died at 69 following an extended battle with lung cancer.

Times-Picayune art critic Doug MacCash recounted the origin of the iconic image:

In 1984 a legend was born. Rodrigue accepted a commission to help illustrate a book of Cajun folk tales. He painted a ghostly blue “Watchdog” that seemed to be protecting a weird red building. The little dog was Rodrigue’s interpretation of the Loup Garou or Cajun werewolf. But the dog wasn’t threatening, it was beseeching.
The Blue Dog came to symbolize not only the Cajun people, but conservative politicians, especially Democrats. As far as I know Rodrigue's only use of the image in a political sense came in 1993, when he publicly denounced David Duke with his 1993 "No More Dukes" painting, which put him at odds with most other white Louisianians.

Rodrigue deserves to be remembered for more than a narrow political interpretation of his work.


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