On Tuesday afternoon a work by Rodrigue was stolen from a New Orleans gallery. The work, “Wendy and Me” was taken from a gallery in the afternoon. Video of the theft can be seen below:
That work, and another work by Rodrigue, “Three Amigos” was seen sitting against a building on Royal Street in the Quarter, where it was discovered by a members of an unheralded New Orleans band, Stereo Fire Empire. One of the bandmembers describes finding the works in this interview with local Fox affiliate:
Ben Myers reports for Nola.com that the band turned the works of art into the local police precinct:
After their discovery Tuesday night, the four friends, who comprise the local rock band Stereo Fire Empire, carried the paintings to the 8thDistrict police station three blocks away. There, they were greeted with understandable incredulity, Diez said.
“We’re a bunch of scruffy-looking dudes who show up with a bunch of expensive artwork,” Diez said. “It was like Scooby Doo or something, except instead of the Harlem Globetrotters, it was a rock and roll band.”
Police commander Jeff Walls said the band mates are considered good Samaritans, with no reason to suspect them of wrongdoing. At the same time, “we will look at everybody” in trying to identify the thief, Walls said. “We will definitely follow up to make sure we check into their history, and also if they were possibly involved,” Walls said.
The discovery of “Three Amigos” is a mystery. Jacques Rodrigue, the artist’s son, said the George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts sold it three or four years ago to a non-profit organization. The foundation does not have records as to which organization purchased it, Rodrigue said. The painting was sold unframed, he said, but the frame Diez and his friends found it in contains identifying information.
So a lot of good publicity for an unknown band. Sounds like a lot of coincidences, and strange things do happen in the French Quarter. But boy, it seems to be a coincidence that the thief in the cctv video of the theft is wearing the same Chuck Taylor sneakers as members of the band… Here’s Jim James, which sums up my thoughts on the theft, recovery, and subsequent attention: