1ST PLACE winner is ERNIE L. FOURNET who has gained notoriety painting costumed characters from South Louisiana. Fournet’s skill and passion brings to life Masqueraders of Mardi Gras, Celtic and Laotian cultural dancers, Native Americans in powwow regalia, and police in uniform or S.W.A.T. gear. Fournet considers himself a contemporary realist and enjoys working with freehand airbrush and graphite for the photographic “soft edge” quality of the media. Fournet received his art education from the University of Southwestern Louisiana with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in 1975, and from Louisiana State University with a Masters of Fine Arts in 1977. Following a family law enforcement tradition, he retired from public service in 2003 with over twenty-five years of service with the Baton Rouge and New Iberia police departments. “Laotian Dancer” is graphite on an acrylic-primed illustration board. The young Lao-American dancer illuminates a local Buddhist festival.