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Baseball: Get ready to cry fowl (Image Included)

Cajun Chicken set to make return to Tigue

That fowlest of birds – and the most popular off-the-field entertainer in the history of the Ragin’ Cajun athletic program – makes a triumphant return Tuesday night.

The Fabulous Cajun Chicken, after an absence of nearly eight years, will re-hatch for a one-night-only appearance at M. L. "Tigue" Moore Field Tuesday when the UL baseball team plays its annual "Turn Back the Clock Night."

Southeastern Louisiana will be the opponent for the 6:30 p.m. contest, and the unwitting Lions will no doubt be the target of some of the feathered one’s array of skits, antics and impressions.

That is, if Russell Heim can remember them.

"I’ll be 50 in three weeks," said Heim, who brought the Fabulous Cajun Chicken to life for nearly two decades. "I’m hoping Acadian Ambulance is on standby."

Barring any such medical emergencies, Heim plans to reincarnate many of the Chicken’s famous sketches. Fans on hand Tuesday for the festivities, which include Ticket Redemption Night and a post-game auction of UL’s throwback jerseys, can expect to see Elvis Presley Chicken, Michael Jackson Chicken, Witch Doctor Chicken, Grim Reaper Chicken and others.

"I’ve been going through the attic, seeing what I can find," said Heim, in real life the senior vice president of The Clement Companies Inc., project management and oil field inspection company. "I’m glad I didn’t throw all the stuff away."

Heim first donned a chicken suit in 1982 to roam the sidelines of Cajun basketball games, and quickly became a fan favorite with his antics. He eventually became identified with the Cajun athletic program, although he also did a variety of other mascot appearances including the Louisiana Ice Gators’ Alphonse character.

Ever the entertainer, Heim was much more than just a costumed figure. He would wander the stands at Cajun athletic events, hug children and do his best to embarrass adults. But it was during breaks in the action, time outs in football and basketball and between innings in baseball, that the creative juices flowed.

Fans looked forward to the elaborate skits and props, with opponents and officials often caught in the middle – always in good fun.

The appearance grew from a conversation between Heim and Cajun baseball coach Tony Robichaux at a fall football game. Robichaux told Heim about "Turn Back the Clock Night," and the idea blossomed.

"I had a guy tell me last week that he used to bring his kids to see me, and Tuesday he’s bringing his grandkids," Heim said. "It’s really been a generation. It’s been a lot of fun and I’ve got a lot of great memories."

Apparently, those memories weren’t what some in the UL family wanted. That, or some individuals didn’t want the UL program identified with a comical chicken. Heim was told after the 1999 athletic season that his services were no longer required.

His last appearance at a Cajun event was a May 1999 baseball game, making it even more fitting that what he calls his final appearance is back at the "Tigue."

"This is something I’ve been wanting to do every since that last appearance," Heim said. "I always wanted one more game to sort of close things out. I wanted to do it one more time just to say good-bye."

Heim had back fusion surgery two years ago and also had recent surgery for a torn bicep tendon, so the physical part of the skits may be a little slower. But the mental part, the creative part, is in high gear.

"I started getting nervous," Heim said, "because it’s been a long time since I’ve done this. But we’re putting together a schedule and we’ll see what happens."

Regardless of how good the show is, Heim will no doubt entertain at least one fan in attendance.

"My son Tony was two and a half the last time I made an appearance," he said of his now-10-year-old. "He doesn’t remember it. It’ll be good because he’ll get to see what I did for so long. That will make it fun."

Submitted photo

The Fabulous Cajun Chicken, who last appeared at a Ragin’ Cajun sporting event in 1999, will make his return at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday as part of "Turn Back the Clock" night at Moore Field.

Athletic Network Note:  For more information on mascots, click on www.RaginCajuns.com then the Fans link on the horizontal menu, then Mascots.  Bulldogs, Raging Cajuns, Cajun Man, Cajun Chicken, and Cayenne are all included in this link.

Southeastern La. vs. UL: ‘Turn Back the Clock’ night

6:30 p.m. Tuesday, M. L. "Tigue" Moore Field

  • What to expect: Barber-shop quartet singers, Season Ticket Redemption Night (all unused tickets this season good for admission), appearance by the Fabulous Cajun Chicken and a post-game auction of the throwback jerseys worn by the UL players.
  • REUNION: Athletic Network Footnote –
    Baseball Alumni Weekend – May 11-13  email Baseball Office at
    cajunbaseball@cox-internet.com  or Phone 337.482.6189) for additional information and to register.  Over 60 former players have already registered.