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Rita Jo Broussard

Metal / Lafayette, LA

Artist Statement

I am a French and Spanish speaking former school teacher who loves to share her knowledge of Louisiana history, music, art and culture.

I designed the female rubboard in 1986 and now make jewelry and wall hangings from colorful anodized aluminum which gives my art that whimsical feel that aptly describes the Cajun personality.

Biography

I was born and raised on a rice farm in Leroy, Louisiana. As a child I loved designing clothing for my paper dolls. I attended the Academy of the Sacred Heart in Grand Coteau, La. where I received a wonderful education including 2 years of Latin and 2 years of French, thus began my love affair with languages. I graduated from U.S.L. in education and was a school teacher for 5 years.

Then I began a new phase of life... in fashion. I went into business and had a clothing boutique in Lafayette, Louisiana named 'Elle Boutique'. Another 5 years went by when I had an opportunity to live in Mexico City, Mexico, I closed shop and went for it.

I returned to Lafayette in 1986 and a friend of mine took me to the 6th annual Zydeco Festival in Plaisance, La. where I flipped for the rubboard. Had to have one. Designed the female version and with the help of a retired sheet metalist, Mr. Coleman, made the first female rubboard. I got a patent on the design by 1989. That same year I began participating in the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival selling the rubboards and then little rubboard earrings and pins. I have participated in many outdoor art shows and music festivals. Of course, my art has evolved. I now enjoy making small and large wall hangings which are representations of Louisiana culture.

I consider myself blessed to have been born in South Louisiana which is so rich with inspiration for one who is inclined to make art about the things around them. I'm one of those people who has found something they love to do. Merci Beaucoup, Gracias.