Famed Louisiana artist Elton Louviere dies

Elton Louviere, Southwest Louisiana’s most celebrated artist and renowned nationally for his paintings of wildlife and rural Louisiana, died Monday. He was 83.

Born in Patoutville in 1930, Louviere became fascinated with drawing in the second grade, but he did not devote himself to his passion for painting until his mid-40s. That’s when he sold his outdoor advertising company to paint full time.

Louviere began painting mainly wildlife like ducks and deer, subjects he was familiar with since he had hunted them all of his life.

He won the first Louisiana Duck Stamp competition and competed in several national shows, which he told the American Press in 2011 was his “big secret” to sustaining his career.

He was known for using acrylic paint that allowed him to render great detail in his art.

Louviere’s fame spread, helped by several art books that depicted locations throughout south Louisiana.

He self-published his artwork in “Images of Louisiana” in 1988, and the book has since sold out. He followed with two more books “Louisiana: Backroads and Bayous” in 1992 and “Louviere’s Louisiana: A Sentimental Journey,” in 1999. Both are still in print.

Among Louviere’s popular works are a painting of the Lorrain Bridge in Hayes and of old downtown buildings like Muller’s and First National Bank.

Told by his father that he would starve as an artist, he enrolled in a correspondence course at Art Instruction Inc. in Minneapolis following graduation from Hanson Memorial High School in Franklin.

Three years later, he married the woman who would become his business partner for nearly 60 years, Pat. Upon completing the correspondence course in 1953, the couple visited the Art Instruction Inc. where the president of the school advised Elton that he lived in one of the best wildlife areas in the country and should take advantage of it.

Louvieire worked for five years in a chemical plant in Franklin, but spent some of his spare time drawing a two-page spread in a local newspaper for a grocery store.

In 1958, he applied and won a job as an artist for Dolby Advertising in Lake Charles. He left the company in 1968 to start his own outdoor advertising company.

When he and Pat closed Louviere’s Fine Art Gallery in Moss Bluff in December 2011 after being opened for 11 years, Elton said, “ I love every bit of the art business. I’ll be an artist for the rest of my life.”

Funeral arrangements, which will be handled by Hixson Funeral Home of Lake Charles, are pending.