The University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Homecoming is an annual tradition for our family. I have fond memories of college Homecoming years past and continue to make new memories each year with my little Ragin’ Cajun family.
Homecoming The Past Years (2005-2010)
These were the years of cardboard and glitter. Late nights in Blackham Coliseum stapling and gluing, dancing and goofing off with various campus organization groups as we decorated our floats for the homecoming parade. The years of waking up “early” at 8:00 am to drive through CC’s and caffeine up to board said float with 80 other young women and hit the parade route. These were the years of going home to nap between the homecoming parade and tailgating before the big game.
Afternoon tailgating was filled with jambalaya and burgers, Powerade and frozen daiquiris, a Cajun Two-step and Cupid shuffles, washers and beer pong. Sitting on the hill, cheering the Cajuns to a (back then very hopeful) victorious Homecoming football game.
Homecoming 2007 was a particularly special year because, according to the web, it was then that my husband and I made our relationship “Facebook Official” with our first picture on the hill during the Homecoming game vs. Florida Atlantic. UL lost the game in overtime by the way – it was obviously a good year for love, but not so much for Cajuns football.
Homecoming The Family Tradition (2013- 2017)
These are the years of family Homecomings. The years our newest traditions are made and carried out to present day. As dedicated season ticket holders, if we can’t manage to make any other Ragin’ Cajun home games during the season, we are attending the Homecoming game – you can bet your money on that Cher. Our family University of Louisiana at Lafayette Homecoming Day looks a little like this:
Open House at the UL Alumni Center
Two words – Free Fun. The UL Alumni Center is the place to be with your family the morning of Homecoming. There is live entertainment outside for all ages that typically includes a Cajun band, face painting, a fun jump, and a non-creepy balloon artist (clowns freak me out). Inside, you can always find a spread of breakfast treats, juice, and some Mello Joy coffee brewed. And, if it’s been a typical toddler tantrum morning, momma, you can even grab yourself a mimosa at the Alumni Center!
If you are at the Alumni Center, all you have to do is walk out to St. Mary Street, and you have high-spirited, prime viewing of the Homecoming parade as it passes in front of the viewing stands. Typically, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Pride of Acadiana band will stop and perform here. Your family will get to see the Homecoming Queen and her court toast. Many organization members on floats will cheer harder, yell louder, and toss more candy and confetti at spectators in this area, because this is where they are judged for their parade participation and gain points in Homecoming competitions. It has always been an overall experience enhancer to view the parade in front of the Alumni Center, but if your babe is sensitive to loud sounds or a bit of a crowd (nothing compared to a Mardi Gras weekend in New Orleans), then I’d advise you to bring some noise canceling headphones or simply walk down a few blocks for a quieter view.
Lunch at Deano’s
We find that Deano’s Pizza on Bertrand Drive is the perfect spot for Homecoming Day grubbing. With their prime location to Cajun Field, a family-friendly vibe, and selections of pizzas, pasta, sandwiches and salads, there is something for everyone. You can even choose to pregame with a Ragin Cajun Ale if you’re feeling crazy! Our family favorites are the Tee Rex and Hawaii Five-O specialty pizzas, and a fried oreo … or two.
No Naps – Tailgating
Our tailgating these days usually consists of pushing a stroller with a sleepy (or fussy) tot around the tents, stopping into a few to tell friends hello and then heading over to Stadium Way for the Cajun Walk and the Ragin’ March.
There’s nothing like seeing your offspring sing the Ragin’ Cajun Fight Song at the top of their lungs. Our family is the one with the curly haired gals cheering “D-fense” and “That’s another Louisiana first down …Whoop Whoop!” And don’t even think about going to the restroom during half time. We clearly must watch the performance by the Ragin’ Jazz dance team! Whether we win or lose the big game, there is always a great sense of spirit within Cajun Field on Homecoming afternoon.
If you’re a season ticket holder, or a visitor to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Homecoming events, I hope you will make some part of the festivities a yearly tradition for your family. For a list of this year’s events beginning Sunday, November 12th and running through Homecoming day on Saturday, November 18th, click here.