The art and artistry of Louisiana’s outdoors is front and center Saturday for the annual Baton Rouge Antique Decoy Show at the Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center.
Hours are 9 a.m.-4 p.m., and the show’s feature presentation focuses on classic New Orleans decoys and the carvers that added to this tradition of the state’s waterfowl hunting and its hunters.
“Our mission is to preserve the rich waterfowling history of the bayou and surrounding states through education about our unique heritage of antique decoys crafted by the gifted artisans representing the various proud ethnic groups that have settled here through the centuries,” organizer and collector Gary Lipham said.
Four south Louisiana men will be honored, including Francis “Slim” Uzee, 95-year-old Alfred Muller, Dennis Treitler and Dave Hall.
Uzee died in 2001 and was credited for not only his carving of working decoys, but his passion in mentoring other carvers, among them Treitler.
Hall came to Louisiana as a federal enforcement agent. He died in 2014 after years of working across the Southeast, mainly Louisiana, and working other successful wildlife poaching cases across the country. He wrote two books, “Poachers to Preachers” and “Game Wars” that described his adventures in Louisiana. Lipham said Hall is being honored for, “an unyielding, life-long commitment to waterfowl conservation through law enforcement, education and rehabilitation.”
Hall was also an avid decoy collector.
Other drawing cards for this show include an antique decoy collectors display, buy, sell and swap tables; primitive decoy carving demonstrations; displays of antique pirogues and antique decoys from around the Deep South; interactive games and other activities for children; and door prizes.
Showing how much the decoys mean to him and his family, André Uzee, Slim’s son, sent along a letter asking for collectors to bring his father’s work to the show.
“I know my dad enjoyed carving and painting decoys, building pirogues and even painting on canvas. With his passing in 2001, the Baton Rouge Antique Decoy show has given me an opportunity to show (his) decoys,” Uzee said. “Some of you (collectors) have mentioned that you are in possession of one or more of my father’s decoys and/or know someone who has them in their collection.
“I am excited to know that my father’s work is recognized as collectable and how much you and others have enjoyed having them in collections. It would really be nice to see some of his decoys at this year’s show for everyone to see,” Uzee said. “It would be great to see them in the display case for all to see. I may have seen some of them in our home when growing up, but would love to see them again.”
For more information, email Lipham at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (225) 571-2835. Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center’s address is 10503 North Oak Hills Parkway, off Bluebonnet Drive between Perkins Road and Highland Road in Baton Rouge.