Image of ‘Sonny’ Mouton unveiled in sculpture near UL’s Cajundome | Education
The still, life-size image of former state senator Edgar G. “Sonny” Mouton, D-Lafayette, captured in clay and bronze, is now the sentinel of what he helped build on the campus of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
The sculpture is the creation of Patrick Miller, a renowned Australian artist who works in Ponchatoula. It was unveiled Sunday afternoon by Mouton’s four daughters – Cheryl, Patti, Kathy and Mary – under blue skies in front of some 75 people who gathered outside the Cajundome and in front of Cajun Field, two structures for which Mouton , a 14-year-old lawmaker, kick off the funding. Mouton’s widow, Patsy, with whom he shared 64 years of marriage, was seated nearby, as were many family members, including grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Much of the area on the north side of the UL Lafayette campus is named after Mouton after his death at age 86 in 2016. The sculpture complements the Edgar G. “Sonny” Mouton Sports and Entertainment Plaza, designated by Senator d Status Page Cortez. , who was among the speakers at a 45-minute ceremony.
Mouton, a descendant of town founder Jean Mouton, was valedictorian in 1947 at Cathedral High and earned his bachelor’s degree and law degrees at Tulane in 1953 before settling and practicing at the Mouton firm. and Roy. Mouton loved politics, his daughters Cheryl Trumps and Patti Judice said, and never said a disparaging word about the town his descendant helped establish.
Mouton held many important positions in the Legislative Assembly and was repeatedly honored as the best legislator and best speaker. Following an unsuccessful bid for the governorship, Mouton served in governors’ administrations. David Treen and Edwin W. Edwards.
“He was a humble, kind, selfless man with a great political mind,” said his daughter Cheryl, “who lived and breathed government. He believed in the great state of Louisiana.
Although the plaza is dedicated to the state, all costs for the sculpture and the plaza were privately funded, his family members said.
Cortez said Mouton gave him sage advice when the youngster first ran for office in 2007.
“Never forget where you come from” and “the old and the young have no one else to defend them,” Mouton advised the young man.
State Sen. Gerald Boudreaux, D-Lafayette, recalled from his childhood that Mouton expanded into black neighborhoods as well as whites. “He wasn’t just a senator for just one part of the district.” Boudreaux says he tried to follow Mouton’s lead.
UL Lafayette President E. Joseph Savoie joked that Mouton’s diminutive stature — life-size Mouton sculptures are only 5 feet 6 inches tall — earned shoppers a 20 percent discount. But he said the former lawmaker and community leader was “casting a long shadow” for influence. Mouton had “charm and humor” and used both to good effect, Savoie said, describing him as a master of the legislative process.
Savoie said when Mouton requested funding for Cajun Field, state money was tight. So he got enough funds for the excavation, because he knew that if the state dug a big hole, the state would have to find something to fix it. Savoie said it was the “First you made a big hole” strategy.
Mouton’s daughter, Cheryl, noted a bit of melancholy at the ceremony, but said with sadness that her father would remind her to close her eyes and imagine she was at the beach. She said she worked with the sculptor and traveled to see his work. He urged her to look the statue – it depicts Mouton in a suit and tie, left hand in his pocket, right hand open and outstretched at his side – in the eyes and tell him if she looked like his father.
She told the sculptor it was such a beautiful likeness: “I’m waiting for him to hug me.”