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A Love Letter to Tensas Parish

A sculptor remembers a riverside boyhood

Published: December 1, 2019
Last Updated: June 1, 2023

A Love Letter to Tensas Parish

Guinotte Wise, Effigy, 2019. Mixed media assemblage.

Kansas sculptor and writer Guinotte Wise spent part of his WWII-era boyhood in St. Joseph, Louisiana, in Tensas Parish.  His latest solo show at the Hilliard Gallery in Kansas City, A Love Letter to Tensas Parish, amalgamates those memories in artworks like the effigial sculpture above. Wise also profiled some Tensas Parish luminaries with photos and biographies in the show, including Elvadus Fields Jr., mayor of St. Joseph; poet Garland Strother, who was born on the Mayflower Plantation; and Joel Brannan, a young Louisiana State University graduate who is building a premium vodka distillery in the parish. “For being the least populated of all Louisiana parishes, they sure have a high percentage of cool men and women,” Wise said. More of Wise’s work can be seen at wisesculpture.com.