LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — Professors say "Blue Dog" painter George Rodrigue was an important figure in a generation of artists who connected to people and traditions of Louisiana's Cajun culture.

Rodrigue was 69 when he died of cancer Saturday in Houston. His family is expected to announce funeral plans Monday.

Barry Ancelet, French and humanities professor at University of Louisiana at Lafayette, tells the Town Talk that Rodrigue was a visionary who "did for art what Paul Prudhomme did for cooking and Clifton Chenier did for music."

Gordon Brooks, dean of the College of the Arts at UL Lafayette, says Rodrigue was a classically trained artist who returned to Louisiana and "began painting what was in front of him: the swamp, the landscape and the tree."