Bogalusa artist shows her Centennial pride

Published 9:04 am Monday, June 23, 2014

Renderings on posters and T-shirts designed for Bogalusa’s upcoming Centennial Jubilee reveal a snapshot of the city’s first 100 years.

Local artist Tabitha Steele designed the official poster, T-shirt and cookbook coverfor the event, which begins Sunday, June 22, and runs through Friday, July 4, the day Bogalusa celebrates its 100-year anniversary.

The poster and T-shirt display various scenes of the city’s rich history.

A focal point of the poster is the home of Bogalusa’s first mayor, William H. Sullivan. Other scenes depict tents the Goodyear family set up along the Bogue Lusa Creek to get at the virgin yellow leaf pine trees. Scenes also include stacks of timber underneath the Great Southern Lumber Co. sign and the current paper mill operator, International Paper Co. Fireworks, watermelons and patriotic themes also adorn the poster.

“I’m very honored to have been asked to design the poster for this once-in-a-lifetime event,” Steele said. “I learned from the project and now I have a better understanding and appreciation for our city. I want people to be excited about this. I included watermelons because Washington Parish is known for having the best watermelons.”

Steele said she began work on the design May 26 and completed it June 11.

The T-shirt design has a different theme. T-shirts depict Bogalusa City Hall, the paper mill, the Paper Queen’s crown, Cassidy Park, pine trees, fireworks and a United States flag.

T-shirts are available at Dunaway’s on Alabama Avenue for $15. Proceeds from the shirts are earmarked for the Centennial Jubilee Fund.

“Miss Francis (Dunaway) and I are just trying to give back to the city in a small way,” Steele said.

The cookbook cover depicts a virgin pine tree forest that is found outside of Bogalusa.

“I did the cookbook just to give back to the city,” Steele said.

Posters are 36 inches by 12 inches and sell for $30. Artist prints will be sold for $40. A limited number of posters are available and will be sold at McMillan’s.

Steele said she began painting seriously in 2009.

“As long as I can remember I was always drawing and coloring,” Steele said. “I was in the talented art program in junior high and high school in Bogalusa. Art opened me up to different mediums, which art has to offer. Then I was a full-time wife and mother and put my family first.”

Steele said the fleur de lis became her subject when she when she decided to pick up a paintbrush again six years ago.

“I just started painting fleur de lis artwork, which led me to a series of Bogalusa fleur de lis,” Steele said. “The first one I did focused on City Hall, the mill and post office. Others include Zesto’s. I tried to pick out memorable places, which people can identify with Bogalusa.”

Steele said other fleur de lis themes included Red Bird Ice Cream and the children’s coronation.

“I have six different Fleur de Lis, and all of their focus is Bogalusa,” Steele said. “I do offer fleur de lis of Mississippi and New Orleans and plan to do one on Baton Rouge. I sell them to different gift shops.”

Steele said she has various pieces of her artwork for sale. Larger prints sell for $30, while the more diminutive prints sell for $20.

“I don’t just have framed artwork, but I have prints, notecards and coffee cups with the fleur de lis on those items,” Steele said.

Steele also designed posters for the 2010 and 2012 Washington Parish Free Fair. The 2010 poster sold out with over 500 copies sold.

Steele can be contacted at 516-1114 with inquiries regarding her artwork.