Wendy Rodrigue, the widow of renowned artist George Rodrigue, wrapped up a tour of six Louisiana schools this month with a trip to the artist’s alma mater, Catholic High School in New Iberia, on Thursday.

Following the presentation at Catholic High School, Wendy served as Mistress of Ceremonies for New Iberia’s annual “A Taste of Main” tree-lighting celebration.

At the celebration, she also announced a $100,000 donation that she hoped would go toward the upkeep of George Rodrigue Park, the upkeep of the George Rodrigue Studio at the Bayou Teche Museum and the installation and expansion of the Kathleen Blanco exhibit at the museum. 

"This town has made promises to me about George and has followed through," Wendy said. "I can feel George when I'm here."

Through her Life & Legacy Foundation, Wendy Rodrigue, presents artistic, inspirational stories primarily focused on George Rodrigue’s life and artistic development. Rodrigue’s lifelong self-determination, dedication to his art, and significant accomplishments resulted in one of the greatest stories in American Art. Each presentation is unique, unscripted and fluid and features original, museum-quality Rodrigue paintings from the couple’s home.

She visited with CHS sixth graders from 10:35 a.m.-11:35 a.m., fourth and fifth graders from noon-1 p.m., eighth graders from 1:25-2:05 p.m. and seventh-graders from 2:15-2:55 p.m.

The Life & Legacy Foundation, sharing the life and art of George Rodrigue (1944-2013) through exhibitions of original artwork from the artist’s private collection, returns to Louisiana in November for the first time since the pandemic to visit six local schools. The tour will mark its 100th school visit, impacting more than 40,000 students.

“This developing, ‘unplugged’ journey, without computer or PowerPoint, is refreshing in our increasingly digital world,” she said in a prepared statement. “Whenever possible, I enjoy small groups of fifty or less, allowing for a close study of the artworks, as well as discussions that always surprise me as much as my audience. I have yet to complete a class that students didn’t stay afterwards with additional questions and comments about these magnificent paintings. George’s art encompasses his spirit and lends towards the personal nature of these tours. I love being able to share him with others and inspire audiences of all ages.”

Previous stops in the Louisiana tour included stops at Trinity Episcopal School in New Orleans, Church Point High School in Acadiana, St. Jude the Apostle School in Baton Rouge, North Lewis Elementary School in New Iberia, St. James Place Retirement Community in Baton Rouge and St. Martin Gifted Center in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. To culminate this leg of the Life & Legacy tour, Wendy will make her 100th school presentation at Catholic High School in New Iberia.

Now in its fifth year, Life & Legacy includes school visits, museum exhibitions and numerous museum and community partnerships including the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art, the LSU Museum of Art, Louisiana Association of Broadcasters, Chambers of Commerce, Women’s Leadership Conferences, literary clubs, continuing education and many more. Additional tours are currently planned for Florida, Oklahoma, Texas, and Alabama.

Wendy, an award-winning public speaker and storyteller, was honored in 2019 as a New Orleans Business Woman of the Year, a New Orleans Person to Watch, and a Women of Fashion Prix d’Elegance Honoree for her tireless commitment to her Life & Legacy Foundation. Her book, The Other Side of the Painting (UL Press), and ongoing blog, Musings of an Artist’s Wife, are considered the premiere source for information tracing the history of Rodrigue’s life and art. For more information about Wendy or the Life & Legacy Foundation visit legacyarttour.org.

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