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UL Homecoming Week brings magic to community

Megan Wyatt, The Advertiser, Oct. 26, 2014


The magical year that has been Ragin’ Cajun sports will continue this week as the University of Louisiana at Lafayette celebrates the days leading up to the homecoming football game Saturday.

“Ragin’ Cajuns Ever After” is the theme of this year’s Homecoming Week, which is meant to reflect the success that many of the university’s athletic programs have seen this year.

“It’s another winning season, and we have the community’s support too,” said Joelle Boudreaux, chair of this year’s homecoming festivities. “We’re hoping to see more and more people out there wearing red to support us.” 

The Ragin’ Cajuns won their third consecutive R�L Carriers New Orleans Bowl in December, the men’s basketball team earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament in March, and the men’s tennis team won the Sun Belt Conference Championship in April.

The Ragin’ Cajuns softball team made the school’s sixth appearance at the Women’s College World Series in May, the same month the baseball team was named the nation’s unanimous No. 1 team. CBS.com ranked UL 34th in its Best in College Sports ranking in July.

Homecoming Week is filled with traditional events — and a few new ones — intended to draw alumni and supporters to campus. Activities will culminate with the 4 p.m. gridiron battle Saturday between the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns and the South Alabama Jaguars.

Favorite homecoming traditions such as Paint the Town Red, Yell Like Hell and the Homecoming Parade will be celebrated this week as well as a few new events.

Instead of the traditional community pep rally at Downtown Alive! a different event will take its place Friday because of Halloween. Anyone age 21 and older from the community is welcome to attend a Friday Night Warm-Up event that will begin and end at Blackham Coliseum with shuttle stops in between that will include a meet-and-greet with football team members at the Hilton Garden Inn, dinner at Deano’s Pizza and drinks at Legends Bar. The evening will end back at Blackham with a bonfire. Registration costs $15.

“We’re expecting the younger people to go downtown for Halloween festivities, and others will be trick-or-treating with kids,” Boudreaux said. “So we’re targeting those who maybe don’t have any plans and want to help us kick off tailgating.”

A food truck roundup has been added to the event listing as a fun way to get the community onto campus. Nine food trucks will sell lunch at the Alumni Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday. Trucks that have committed include Blanchard’s Barbeque, the Bus Stop, Cakin’ it to the Streets Dessert, Cajun Flavor Cooking, Chef Gregory, Kona Ice, Mad LuAnn’s, Rice Kings and the WOP Wagon.

Students also will have their share of fun leading up to the big game with traditions such as Cajun Karaoke, Ragin’ Cajun Carnival and spirit competitions. 

“We have something for everyone,” said Michelle Bernard, spirit chair for UL. “The community is invited to attend events and see what the students do here at the university.”

Some basketball fans will take a quick road trip to New Orleans on Tuesday to celebrate Elfrid Payton’s “homecoming.” It will be the first time Payton, former Ragin’ Cajuns basketball player, will compete in Louisiana since being drafted by the Orlando Magic in the first round of the NBA draft earlier this year.

The UL Alumni Association will honor Steve Oubre, a Lafayette architect, Thursday as this year’s Outstanding Alum. The 1976 graduate is a co-founder of Architects Southwest, which specializes in new urbanism and campus planning.

Oubre designed the University’s Walk of Honor and the expansion and renovation of Dupré Library on campus, and guided the University’s Master Plan for campus growth and development that was adopted last year.

On the homecoming agenda Friday are a tennis tournament and the Bill Bass Open Golf Tournament. The University Wind Ensemble’s annual Homecoming Concert will be a treat Friday night, since it falls on Halloween. It will feature fairy tales, fables and haunting stories. Concert-goers are encouraged to dress in costume.

Homecoming Day begins with a Ragin’ Road Race at the Alumni Center, followed by an open house at the Alumni Center from 9 a.m. to noon. 

Homecoming Day begins with a Ragin’ Road Race at the Alumni Center, followed by an open house at the Alumni Center from 9 a.m. to noon.

Boudreaux said the 5K event is her favorite part of Homecoming Week.

“It’s just the perfect way to start off homecoming,” she said. “You can eat and drink and not feel guilty because you ran a 5K.”

The Homecoming Parade will roll at 10 a.m. It will start at Blackham Coliseum. A float carrying the homecoming queen and her court will stop in front of the Alumni Center long enough for a toast by UL President Joseph Savoie.

The parade is UL international student and the University Program Council’s traditions chair Annie Vu’s favorite part about Homecoming Week.

“The Homecoming Parade was the first parade I’d seen in my life,” Vu said. “I think the traditions at the university are so amazing and beautiful, and I’m working to keep them going on.”

UL fans can also register to win a Ragin’ Cajuns-themed golf cart. The Ragin’ Cajuns Athletic Foundation Golf Cart Raffle drawing will be held at halftime of the homecoming game. Online ticket sales end Wednesday but raffle tickets can be purchased for $10 on game day at a tent near the ticket office at Cajun Field.

Kickoff for the big game between the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns and the South Alabama Jaguars is set for 4 p.m. at Cajun Field.

“There’s going to be a lot of glitter and a lot of fun this week because of the theme,” Boudreaux said. “It’s just been such a fantastic year of championships and post-season play, and I just hope to see the fairytale continue.”

Learn more about Homecoming Week festivities by visiting louisiana.edu/homecoming.

Join in on the festivities!


• 10 a.m.-2 p.m. – Food Truck Round-Up, Alumni Center

• 11:45 a.m. – Cake Give Away and Spirit Banner Signing, Vermilion Hall Breezeway

• 2-4 p.m. – Faculty/Staff Door Decoration Contest and Residence Hall Decoration Contest

• 6 p.m. – Ragin’ Cajun Karaoke, Cajundome Convention Center


• 8 a.m.-5 p.m. – Paint the Town Red – Judging for Businesses

• 11 a.m.-1 p.m. – Ragin’ Cajuns Carnival, Rex Street

• 5-7 p.m. – Elfrid Payton’s Homecoming “Party Perch,” Smoothie King Center, New Orleans


• 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Cajuns Can Care Food Drive, Alumni Center

• Online ticket sales end for the 2014 RCAF Golf Cart Raffle


• 8 a.m.-2 p.m. – Paint the Town Red – Judging for Schools

• 6:30 p.m. – Yell Like Hell Pep Rally, Cajun Field


• 8 a.m.-5 p.m. – Tennis Tournament, Red Lerille’s Health and Racquet Club

• 8 a.m.-5 p.m. – Bill Bass Open Golf Tournament, Vieux Chenes Golf Course

• 6 p.m. – NPHC Greek Expo, Cajundome Convention Center

• 6 p.m. – Friday Night Warm-Up Fais Do-Do and Fall Fest, Blackham Coliseum

• 7:30 p.m. – University Wind Ensemble’s annual Homecoming Concert, Angelle Auditorium


• 8 a.m. – Ragin’ Road Race 5K and 1-mile fun run, Alumni Center

• 9 a.m.-noon – Alumni Open House, Alumni Center

• 10 a.m.-noon – Homecoming Parade, viewing at Alumni Center

• 1 p.m. – Alumni Tailgating Party, Cajun Field

• 4 p.m. – Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajuns take on South Alabama’s Jaguars, Cajun Field

• Halftime – 2014 RCAF Golf Cart Raffle Drawing, Cajun Field

Source: UL Alumni Association and University Program Council