Mike Petrucci, Unsplash

Four NOLA Students Among Finalists of The George Rodrigue Foundation’s 2021 Contest

09:00 May 26, 2021
By: Madeline Taliancich

The George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts recently announced the winners of its 2021 visual arts and songwriting contest, high school juniors and seniors who will be receiving a total of $25,000 in scholarships. This year's theme, "Alone Together: Art in the Time of Pandemic" asked participants to reflect on the last year and consider things like how their lives have changed because of COVID, how difficult the last year has been, and their hopes for the future. Of this year's 13 winning songwriters and artists, four were from the New Orleans area!

"This year's art and songwriting contest winners were truly special," Jacques Rodrigue, executive director of The George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts, said. He said it hasn't been an easy year for students, but that they overcame their challenges to create artwork that truly represents the last year.

"My hope is that these artists will continue to inspire and uplift others just as they have done with us through this contest," he said.

In the songwriting category, three winners were chosen by a panel of celebrity musician judges including Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews, Bruce "Sunpie" Barnes, Aaron Wilkinson of the Honey Island Swamp Band, Robin Barnes, founding member of Cowboy Mouth Paul Sanchez, and Academy Award winner Don Markowitz for Best Original Song "I've Had the Time of My Life," according to the foundation's press release. The three winners shared $6,000 in scholarships and will have the opportunity to perform their original songs at Shorty Fest, the Trombone Shorty Foundation's annual fundraiser.

Warren Easton Senior High School junior Keelan Jiles, Jr. placed first in the songwriting competition with his song "Viral War" and NOCCA junior Owusu Diallo placed third for his song "What We Feelin'."

The 10 winning visual artists split the remaining $19,000 in scholarships and were judged by a panel of artists, curators, professors, and other art experts.

St. Mary's Dominican High School senior Faith Bass placed 2nd in the senior art category with her artwork "Pandemics: History Repeats Itself." NOCCA junior Iris Kobrock placed 4th in the junior art category with her piece "New Storms."

All of the winners, as well as their entries, are listed below.

Songwriting Contest Winners:

1st Place - $3,000

Keelan Jiles, Jr. (Junior, Warren Easton Senior High School, New Orleans)

"Viral War"

2nd Place - $2,000

Thai Booker (Senior, Ponchatoula High School, Ponchatoula)


3rd Place - $1,000

Owusu Diallo (Junior, New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, New Orleans)

"What We Feelin"

Visual Art Contest Winners:

1st Place Senior - $5,000

John Landry (Teurlings Catholic High School Lafayette, LA)

"Quarantine Blues," by John Landry

2nd Place Senior - $4,000

Faith Bass (St. Mary's Dominican High School, New Orleans, LA)

"Pandemics: History Repeats Itself," by Faith Bass

3rd Place Senior - $3,000

Angel Caine (Woodlawn High School, Baton Rouge, LA)

"Mania," by Angel Caine

4th Place Senior - $2,000

Alaina Le (St. Thomas More High School, Lafayette, LA)

"Disconnected," by Alaina Le

5th Place Senior - $1,000

Catherine Rollins (St. Joseph's Academy, Baton Rouge, LA)

"Autism and an Alien World," by Catherine Rollins

1st Place Junior - $1,500

Isabelle Stelly (Southside Highschool, Youngsville, LA)

"Reflections in Quarantine," Isabelle Stelly

2nd Place Junior - $1,000

Chloe Babin (Vandebilt Catholic High School, Houma, LA)

"The Persistence of Covid," by Chole Babin

3rd Place Junior - $750

Adisyn Estes (Sam Houston High School, Lake Charles, LA)

"Silenced by Circumstance," by Adisyn Estes

4th Place Junior - $500

Iris Kobrock (New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, New Orleans, LA)

"New Storms," by Iris Kobrock

5th Place Junior - $250

Yazmin Carmona (Woodlawn High School, Baton Rouge, LA)

"When the World Stopped," by Yazmin Carmona
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