Born and raised in New Iberia, Louisiana, in the heart of Cajun Country, Rodrigue's family were descendants of the original Acadian settlers who had come to French Louisiana as exiles in the 18th century. He decided to make art his life's work early - while recovering from polio as a boy. After attending art school in California where he discovered that few people knew anything about his unique culture, the artist decided to return to his home in south Louisiana and take his heritage as the inspiration for his art. Gradually developing a style that evolved from the brooding and dark landscapes of his native region featuring the live oak and bayou, to the Cajun scenes and portraits of the 1980's, Rodrigue is best known for the colorful "Blue Dog" images that came unexpectedly from an illustration he did for the folk tale of loup-garou, the Cajun werewolf.
Now raised to almost icon status, Blue Dog has appeared on everything from the Neiman Marcus Christmas catalog to a fund raiser for the return of the post Katrina New Orleans' Saints. Besides oil and acrylic paintings, Blue Dog has also created a whole new medium for Rodrigue, silk screen prints. While this blue canine is without a doubt the best known and most popular of his subjects, Rodrigue's work continues to evolve. Recently he completed a series of paintings inspired by the hurricanes that have threatned or devastated Louisiana. Interestly these were begun prior to Hurricane Katrina.
Rodrigue and his wife Wendy remain dedicated to their Louisiana roots. They have a gallery on Royal Street and live in the Crescent City for most of the year, although the artist also has galleries in Aspen and Carmel California; and there have been exhibitions of his work all over the globe. His paintings are included in museum and corporate collections, as well as individual collections. In 2008 the New Orleans Museum of Art will host a retrospective of Rodrigue's work in recognition for his efforts in the Katrina recovery project. The Dixon is stepping outside its "traditional box" to feature this popular contemporary artist for his universal appeal and to help acquaint the Mid-South with his special Cajun heritage, an "American cousin" of traditional French art and culture usually associated with ths institution.