February 2014

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Courir de Mardi Gras - Tit galop pour Mamou
30” x 45”, oil on canvas,
by Herb Roe, 2014

Although he was born and raised in Ohio, Herb Roe has trained his artist’s eye on the strange and beautiful rituals of South Louisiana since relocating to Lafayette while working with the nationally renowned muralist Robert Dafford. A favorite subject is the Faquetigue Courir de Mardi Gras—a smaller courir started by Joel and Wilson Savoy and some musician friends that happens in the countryside near Eunice. Roe paints portraits that gather the unpredictable, chaotic energy of the courir and capture its revelers at full tilt—riding horses, chasing chickens, leaping ditches, and wringing songs from accordions and fiddles as they spill out across the winter prairie.

“This painting is the first of a new body of work,” explained Roe, “all featuring oak trees and moss and fog and something of a mystical feel. In them I’m playing with ways of showing different aspects of the day. I’m trying to express how the ancient roots of Mardi Gras are growing out of the past, and how people from outside of Louisiana still tend to see it as mystical and filled with secrets. Against that background, on a gray winter’s day when everything’s hazy, the colors of the costumes just vibrate.”

This painting and nineteen more by Herb Roe from the exhibit Le Courir—Explorations of Community and Culture in a World Turned Upside-Down, are on view at the Prairie Acadian Cultural Center in Eunice from February 20—March 18 (See page 31 for details). More work by Herb Roe is at chromesun.com.

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