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Cock-a-doodlin' Counselor

Stephen Rue enjoys beignets and hot chocolate at Cafe du Monde, Rouxsters in tow

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People who are married with children are blessed by having that family life," says attorney and artist Stephen Rue (4209 Canal St., 319-9990; www.rouxsterart.com). "As a single man, I end up having more free time than a lot of people have, so I ... try to be as creative as possible." When Rue isn't providing legal counsel to clients in personal injury, criminal defense, domestic and class action cases, he can be found in his penthouse apartment in the Pontalba, writing, singing, sculpting and painting.

  "I don't like hanging around lawyers, truthfully," Rue says. "I don't know too many lawyers that are very happy about being a lawyer and practicing law."

  One exception is Rue's uncle, a personal injury attorney. After Rue's stepfather died, Rue and his sister were raised by their uncle, who unknowingly inspired Rue to become a lawyer.

  "We all have our burdens, it's how we deal with them," says Rue, who draws inspiration from his losses, his everyday life, artists like James Michalopoulos, Bill Hemmerling, Terrance Osborne and George Rodrigue and his family.

  "My mother [is an artist and] is definitely my creative inspiration," Rue says. "I'm a mama's boy."

  Rouxsters (www.rouxsterart.com), the creations for which Rue is most well-known, were born after he heard a rooster crowing outside his balcony early one morning. An extremely nearsighted Rue saw a fuzzy image of the rooster on Cafe du Monde's roof, grabbed his glasses and returned to a bare rooftop. He quickly crafted the prototype rooster, which still hangs in his Kenner residence.

  "I sculpt my roosters — they're all three-dimensional," Rue says. "You may not be able to tell by photographs ... but anyone who sees a Rouxster up close sees that ... they go two to three inches — sometimes more — off the canvas."

  Rue does mostly commissioned pieces and has created posters for Family Gras, Bayou Boogaloo, the LA/SPCA and WYES. Rouxsters also hang in Cafe Giovanni, Andrea's, Maximo's Italian Grill and Camellia Grill.

  Rue, who wears a Tibetan medallion inscribed with his motto "Live with passion," became involved in the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club in 2003. "I've fallen in love with my Zulu brothers and I've become very involved," Rue says. "I'm certainly blessed because for the 100th anniversary of Zulu, I was elected by the general membership of Zulu as the first Caucasian Mr. Big Stuff, so there's no greater honor in my mind other than to be the actual king of Zulu."

  Rue recently partnered with the Arts Council of New Orleans and several local artists to plan the New Orleans Arts Festival, a new event he hopes will help establish New Orleans as an art mecca. "We're known for our jazz; we're known for our good food — we also need to be known for our art," Rue says.

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