NEW ORLEANS, La. -- Friends and fans of artist George Rodrigue are remembering the famed artist by celebrating his life, as the man known for his "blue dog" paintings died of cancer over the weekend.
George Rodrigue's studio was closed Saturday, but that didn't stop those who admired his work, from stopping by to pay their respects. Those close to him say he was a great artist and even better man.
“George was a classic Cajun. He was very generous and very kind hearted," said Clancy DuBos.
Kerry Boutte, owner of Mulate’s Restaurant has similar feelings about the late artist, "he was such an incredible man, and he just loved people. He didn't have an enemy."
There's no shortage of kind words when it comes to describing George Rodrigue. The world-renown artist, famous for his blue dog paintings, lost his fight with cancer Saturday night. Those who knew Rodrigue say art was only one side of the man, who changed the lives of many.
"He didn't have a mean bone in his body. He saw the love and humor in life," said former Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco.
Artist Jonny Carlson remembers the early years, "I remember when he used to paint on the fence over here. It is just a sad day in the art world. Sad day in the art world."
Outside his studio, spectators gathered to get a glimpse of the man who inspired a culture on canvas. Close friend Kerry Boutte owns several original pieces from Rodrigue that he's collected through the years. He was among the first to receive the heartbreaking call, “I lost my breath. He was such a great friend. I will miss him a lot."
Rodrigue's career spanned decades, but some say his art, generosity, and kindness will span lifetimes. "George changed the art world. It did not change him," explains DuBos, a close friend of the artist and his family.
"He had become bigger than his art just for the fact he was such a great man. Everyone loved him," said Boutte.
Rodrigue is survived by his wife and two sons. Rodrigue was 69-years-old.