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Staff and Wire Reports

NEWORLEANS- A large gathering of friends, family and admirers attended the funeral mass of Cajun artist George Rodrigue, best known nationwide for his 'Blue Dog' photos.

The service was held at St. Louis Cathedral in front of about 400 people.

'He leaves a legacy of generosity in creating the George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts,' said former Louisiana governor Kathleen Blanco. '(It was) designed to encourage children across Louisiana to discover the trapped creative talents in their souls.'

Rodrigue also helped raise millions of dollars for 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina relief.

Many of the mourners at Thursday's service wore Blue Dog pins.

'I ... suspect he offered God a Blue Dog painting,' Archbishop Gregory Aymond told about 400 people in St. Louis Cathedral during a funeral Mass for Rodrigue. He gained fame for his round-eyed, perk-eared dog paintings after decades of producing works of southwest Louisiana and Cajun life. He died of cancer on Dec. 14 at age 69.

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