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Mr. Paul Bergeron

1022 Coulee Kinney Rd.
Abbeville, La 70510-2014

Retired - Jefferson Island Salt Mine

Home Phone: 337-893-1327
Work Phone: --
Fax: --
Email: paudrey@cox.net

I follow the Ragin’ Cajuns as much as my health will allow…it is a family affair.
In 2004 & 2005 I helped research athletes in the 1930s and 1940s, especially the years when I was in school. Some of the outstanding athletes during those years were: Randall Stelly and Carrol Bagget, track; Louie Campbell and Donald Harper, Boxing; Otis and Carl Hurst, Basketball; Gaston LeBlanc and Ned Lewis, Baseball; Bob and Jack Votier, Football. (Ned Lewis and Jack Votier made the supreme sacrifice in World War II)
Submitted on Jan. 13, 2007

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Added at the request of Ed Dugas for my memories of Louis Campbell.

During the two plus years that I attended SLI, starting in September 1939, I was privileged to be able to attend most (if not all) of the home athletic events, as they were held within a short walk of my farm dormitory room — the basketball games and boxing matches at Earl K. Long gym; the football games and track and field meets at McNaspy Stadium; and the baseball games at the baseball field adjacent to McNaspy Stadium. I enjoyed the competition and loved the school spirit exuded by the student body.

In November of 1941 I resigned from school during my junior year to take a college level job with an oil company, a scenario not uncommon during the Great Depression years, when a student’s adverse financial situation often dictated the prudency of a job and salary over a continued struggle to attain a college degree. During the ensuing three decades family and job responsibilities limited my attendance at the school athletic functions, but I never lost interest and kept abreast of progress through the sports media. One of my great moments was when the athletic teams’ nickname was changed from “Bulldogs” to “Ragin Cajuns”.

My wife, Audrey, and I are extremely proud that all four of our children graduated from USL. Also, our three daughters married USL graduates. Our son’s wife was educated in Mississippi, but she redeemed herself by teaching psychology at USL for a couple of years. Also, Audrey attended USL for two years while some of our children were also students. I believe that all this makes us a rock solid University of Louisiana family.

As for my employment career, my last 34 years of active employment were as a member of the management team at the Jefferson Island salt mine. I was there on November 20, 1980 when the drilling rig accidentally penetrated the roof of the underground salt mine, causing the water of Lake Peigneur to drain into the mine, flooding it forever. If you ever watch the video of the disaster being shown at Live Oaks/Rip Van Winkle Gardens, I am the old guy who describes in Cajun French what transpired on that fateful day.

I retired from the salt company in October 1986 at the age of 64, and Audrey and I have attended University of Louisiana football games and mens’ basketball games pretty regularly. In 2003 and 2004 I had the pleasure of working with Dr. Ed Dugas and submitted information for the Athletic Network about athletic events and personnel researched from the University year books covering the years when I was in school.
Today, a step away from being 86, I am looking forward to the football season, and our season tickets are on order.

Paul Bergeron
June 23, 2008