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Fan spotlight: Local support energizes Ragin’ Cajun booster Mari Dugas

Megan Wyatt, Daily Advertiser, Dec. 17, 2013

Meet today’s Ragin’ Cajuns fan, Mari Dugas, who works at Cox Communications. She has just one message for Tulane: "I’m so sorry for your loss." Video by Megan Wyatt, The Advertiser.

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Cox Communications employee Mari Dugas has been a huge Cajuns fan since moving to Lafayette in 1989. She can't wait for Saturday's bowl game.

Cox Communications employee Mari Dugas has been a huge Cajuns fan since moving to Lafayette in 1989. She can’t wait for Saturday’s bowl game. / Megan Wyatt, The Advertiser

Fan spotlight: Local support energizes Ragin’ Cajun booster Mari Dugas

Longtime Ragin’ Cajuns fan Mari Dugas has just one thing to tell Tulane fans.

“I’m so sorry for your loss,” she said with a laugh.

Dugas has been a fan of University at Louisiana at Lafayette football, basketball, baseball and softball since she moved to Lafayette in 1989. Although Dugas never attended UL, her husband did, and their three children all attend or plan to attend UL.

The most memorable Ragin’ Cajuns moment for Dugas came from the unlikely UL — then the University of Southwestern Louisiana — win against Texas A&M in 1996. Fans stormed through Cajun Field after the game, tearing down the goal post and carrying it out of the stadium.

“But overall, it’s just seeing the community and the growth,” Dugas said. “We’re finally growing our athletics, and the whole community is getting behind the team and the college, and that’s been fun to watch and be a part of.”

Dugas and her tailgating crew created a red-and-white rope for UL in more recent years, a tribute to head coach Mark Hudpeth’s reminder to hold on to the rope, like competitors in a tug-of-war.

Aside from the actual game, Dugas’ favorite part about attending Cajuns games is listening to the Pride of Acadiana Marching Band.

“The band, I think, brings so much excitement to the games, to the pep rallies, and they’ve just done a phenomenal job over the years of really engaging the fans.”

Saturday cannot come soon enough for Dugas, who will be attending the bowl game for the third straight year. For the past two years, she says, UL has completely taken over the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. This year, she looks forward to having representation from another in-state school.

I think this is going to be a fun, competitive game,” Dugas says. “I think about how much fun it is to be in New Orleans with so many Ragin’ Cajuns fans — to walk down the street and just see a sea of red and have everybody be so excited about UL football.”