The George Rodrigue Foundation of Arts (GRFA) recently announced the winners of its annual visual art and songwriting contests. Thirteen high school juniors and seniors across the state were awarded for their projects, including four winners from New Orleans. 

The contest theme was "Alone Together: Art in the Time of Pandemic." Students were asked to reflect and explore their thoughts on this difficult year and create art and music inspired by their reflections.

"This year’s art and songwriting contest winners were truly special," says Jacques Rodrigue, GRFA's executive director, said in a statement. "It hasn’t been easy for these students, learning virtually from home, and missing the in-person support and friendship that is so vital during high school years. These students overcame many challenges faced and created art that was all-encompassing of the year we’ve all had. My hope is that these artists will continue to inspire and uplift others just as they have done with us through this contest."

Songwriting judges included Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews, Bruce "Sunpie" Barnes, Aaron Wilkinson, Robin Barnes, Paul Sanchez, and Don Markowitz, and they selected three finalists to share $6,000 in college scholarships based on structure and composition, melody, and lyrics. Winners from the songwriting contest, in partnership with the Trombone Shorty Foundation, will have the opportunity to perform during Shorty Fest. 

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"

The visual art contest judges selected 10 finalists to share $19,000 in college scholarships. Each work was judged on concept and design, technical skill, and creativity. Judges included Janet Wolfe, Jill Hackney, Dana Holland-Bieckert, Misty Taylor, Kay LaFrance, Emily Feazel, Kathy Rodriguez, Priscilla Simpson, Tammie Haubner, and Catherine Pears.


1st Place Senior - $5,000

John Landry (Teurlings Catholic High School Lafayette, LA)

"Quarantine Blues"


2nd Place Senior - $4,000

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

"Pandemics: History Repeats Itself"


3rd Place Senior - $3,000

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



4th Place Senior - $2,000

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



5th Place Senior - $1,000

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

"Autism and an Alien World"


1st Place Junior - $1,500

Isabelle Stelly (Southside Highschool, Youngsville, LA)

"Reflections in Quarantine"


2nd Place Junior - $1,000

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

"The Persistence of Covid"


3rd Place Junior - $750

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

"Silenced by Circumstance"


4th Place Junior - $500

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

"New Storms"


5th Place Junior - $250

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

"When the World Stopped"