Was former engineer at Waterford III
Those who watch “NCIS: New Orleans” will see a cameo from a Destrehan artist’s work in early November.
Odie Tucker, 55, first became interested in art while he was a student at high school and UNO in the late 70s and early 80s, but the former engineer at the Waterford 3 nuclear plant had to put painting on hold for 25 years to be “the engineer, the husband, the dad.” It was as his two sons began to approach adulthood, in 2008, that the New Orleans native picked up a brush again. During a cruise to Alaska, Tucker found himself taking watercolor classes offered on the ship.
“The painting has always been there,” Tucker said. “It was like I was in hibernation.”
Tucker “semi-retired” in June and vowed not to find another job for at lease six months. In the meantime, he has created a studio space in the second floor of his home where he is able to focus on his craft.
Tucker’s paintings reflect the experience of his youth, nautical life. Tucker said that he worked on river barges to pay his way through his engineering degree. He worked as a deckhand and later did more advanced work on tanker barges.“I would take my last exam, pack my bag and just stay on the boat for the entire break,” Tucker said.
His paintings emphasize nautical themes, starting from photographs, but then taking a few liberties to create semi-realistic designs. He said his engineering background helps him, as he has a more thorough understanding of the physical components that make ships work, which he uses to add accuracy to his paintings.
Tucker connected with a producer of “NCIS: New Orleans” through the New Orleans Art Council’s monthly markets in the city. The artist is a regular feature there and caught the attention of one of the producers. After multiple conversations, the staff purchased some of the paintings for use in the show.
Though Tucker is not entirely sure how his paintings will be featured, he said he believes they will be used to introduce a new character. The shows, he said, have already been filmed and are expected to run for two episodes that air in the weeks following Halloween.
Tucker most recently displayed his work at a show in San Antonio, where he said he saw great response despite the city’s lack of nautical history.
He is heading to Savannah, Ga. in early November for another show.