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Why is the Blue Dog Black & Gold: An Interview with George Rodrigue

To learn more about George Rodrigue or Blue Dog Relief, visit www.georgerodrigue.com.
For residents of the Gulf South, George Rodrigue needs no introduction. Born in New Iberia in 1944, Mr. Rodrigue studied art at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, then in both Los Angeles and New York. He may be best known for his Blue Dog series, which depicts his departed pet Tiffany in a variety of settings and locations. The haunting image of the Blue Dog has been featured in worldwide advertising campaigns for companies like Absolut and Xerox.

Mr. Rodrigue has also been an active fundraiser. To date, his Blue Dog Relief campaign has raised over $1,000,000 for various charitable foundations.

Finally, Mr. Rodrigue is an avid Saints fan. He was present during the Saints’ inaugural game and has been hooked ever since. Mr. Rodrigue was kind enough to answer a few questions about his love of the Saints, and the role that he sees the Saints playing in New Orleans.

How long have you been a Saints fan? In the aftermath of the storm have you found your ties to the team strengthened? What do the Saints mean to you?

I was at the very first Saints game ever and saw the touchdown --a run back from the opening kick-off.  I've been a fan ever since.  I think the Saints in a strange way have become a symbol of the New Orleans recovery post-Katrina.

Do you have any favorite Saints-related memories that you would be willing to share, from the past year or otherwise? Any memorable games, players or experiences?

I guess the most memorable experience would be the following:  When my first art book came out in the mid-1970s, Archie Manning came to sign his memorabilia at the same venue.  It was a great day for all of us, and most memorable for me because I got to sign autographs and hang out alongside one of my football heroes.

One print that readers of this site will certainly recognize is We are Marching Again. Is there a story behind this particular work? What prompted the creation of the Blue Dog Relief campaign?

The Blue Dog Relief program started following the print I'd done after 9/11 in New York.  Soon after the hurricane, requests came in for me to do a print to benefit south Louisiana.  We Will Rise Again became the first in the post-Katrina series of relief prints.  We Are Marching Again is the last in that series.  It reflects the struggle for Louisiana and the Saints to come back better than ever.

What did the success of the Saints mean to the Gulf South region? What have the Saints come to symbolize for the community?

I think it came to symbolize a re-birth of the region and has given hope and encouragement to all of us who continue to live here.

I'm sure that the readers would love to hear any other opinions, predictions, etc about the upcoming season that you would like to share.

I think this year the fans anticipate one of the greatest Saints seasons ever.  The hope of this and the reality of it will make this season, whatever its outcome, one of the greatest in memory.  Bring it on!