Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Jacques George Rodrigue

He’s George Rodrigue’s son, my stepson, André’s brother, a foundation’s director and a gallery’s future…

He’s the face of a statewide movement towards arts integration in schools; he’s a graduate of LSU followed by Tulane Law School; he’s House Counsel to Rodrigue Studio; he’s the creator of The Bear Head.

He’s humble, devoted to his dad, the foundation, the restaurants and galleries with so much of his being that he crossed that line sometime ago, from job to career, from career to life’s work, from life’s work to life itself, so that the clock never stops.  

Every opportunity is a chance to raise awareness for the things he cares most about.  (click photos to enlarge)

Although huge accomplishments, Jacques Rodrigue didn’t learn this dedication from his honor status or passing the bar.

He learned it from building crates and cleaning windows, from hanging paintings and hauling frames, from pricing equipment and weighing necessities, from selling paintings and attending exhibitions, from visiting schools and asking questions, from television appearances and public speaking, from studying contracts and protecting copyrights, from publisher meetings and social media. 

But were he writing this himself, I have no doubt that Jacques would say that he learned everything from his dad.  And indeed, they are more alike everyday, made complete only by the addition of André, the one who reminds all of us to care for others above ourselves, to make wontons with as much dedication as running a foundation or painting a picture. 

(pictured, André, George and Jacques as the Blues Brothers; for more on André and Jacques, visit here)

I remember giving the teenage Jacques art books, with hopes that he might take an interest.  As far as I know, however, he tossed them aside, more interested in girls and hockey and the next trip to the beach.

Yet now, I can’t keep up with him, as he hits the galleries and museums and suggests books for me, recently scooping me on Steve Martin’s An Object of Beauty and Annie Cohen-Solal’s Leo and His Circle:  The Life of Leo Castelli, having read them months before, re-gifting the books I saved for him to someone else.

(pictured, Jacques and his dad with Rob Pruitt's Andy Warhol on a recent visit to New York)

He asked his dad for a Hummer every year of his youth, as George struggled with his answer, knowing it was a bad idea, but not wanting to tell his son no.

Now he asks for nothing, even dismissing today, his thirtieth birthday, like it’s any other day, because he’s overwhelmed with projects and responsibilities.  He focuses on his dad’s exhibition in Baton Rouge, recent events in New Orleans, and the all-encompassing George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts.  He sets the theme and organizes the next statewide scholarship contest. He arranges events with schools and non-profits for upcoming exhibitions in northwest Florida and Shreveport.

He oversees with natural managerial ability a foundation staff (pictured above) and its interns, focusing everyone through his own vision while appreciating the value of theirs. 

(pictured, Jacques Rodrigue with his father's Self-portrait of 1971; for more on this painting see the bottom third of the post "Early Oak Trees and a Regrettable Self-portrait")

Somehow Jacques found his vocation within our family business despite the huge, albeit supportive, shadow of a famous father.  He absorbs the best from his dad, while making his own unique and valuable contributions.  Following the three short years that he’s worked full-time within the galleries and foundation, I can honestly say that we would not be here without him.

Here's to you, Jacques.  Your dad and I could not be more proud of your accomplishments or more pleased with your input and dedication.  Like your brother, you are a wonderful young man.

Happy Birthday-
We love you-
Dad and Wendy

Also this week, I come clean about my vanity in my latest post for Gambit:  “The Price of Beauty

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  1. What a delightful birthday blog...the videos add so much, too. Happy 30th birthday to Jacques..I know how proud you must be of him. As a retired First Grade teacher, I am also proud of the Foundation and the opportunities you are giving children all over our state...thank you...

  2. Happy birthday Jacques!

    I didn't think you reached 30 already. All my dealings with you have been very professional and very polite. You are a very efficient young man who really cares about the Foundation and the arts.

    Sometimes working for family can be difficult, but your stepmother did a wonderful job editorializing your most positive characteristics.

    I wish you a safe birthday celebration this evening and please don't let your good friend Ross get the two of you in trouble this evening while you are out celebrating.

    Look forward to seeing you soon.

    Richard Zuschlag

  3. Do you have anything on here about the book that he did with my grandmother, "Le Petite Cajun"?

  4. Hi Lisa, Not yet. I'm slowly working my way through all of George's publications in between essays on his art, career, etc.

    I have taken some notes for such a story, so it is on my radar for sometime in the future. My plan is to also write about Dotsie LeBlanc's gallery in Lafayette and her friendship with George, along with her representation of artist Mark Bercier. If you have any photos of your grandmother within her gallery, that would be most helpful. Please email to