Photo courtesy of Louisiana athletics
The University of Louisiana football program has many great traditions.
Among the best are the vermilion and white school colors, the fluer-de-lis logo, and the nickname Ragin’ Cajuns. The nickname has ranked among the top in college athletics for many years.
But what is a Ragin’ Cajun? Where did the name come from?
The school first started playing football officially in 1901. Louisiana’s first mascot was the Bulldog. Coach Russ Falkinberry changed the name of the football team to Raging Cajuns in 1963.
The name was shortened to Ragin’ Cajuns and was made official in 1974. The nickname was an homage to the local players from the south Louisiana area known as Acadiana.
Where We Have Been?
After the nickname change, the first attempt at a mascot was Mr. Cajun. He was a horrible imitation of Ole Miss’ “Colonel Reb”.
Next came “The Fabulous Cajun Chicken.” He entertained the Louisiana fans from 1982 until 1999. The chicken’s performance at games was truly amusing and enjoyable to watch.
The problem was the chicken did not represent what a Ragin’ Cajuns mascot should be either. Apparently, the university leadership agreed.
“Cayenne”, as in cayenne pepper, was then introduced. This mascot was the worst of them all.
The suit was a joke to adults and scared some children. The failure was the idea and the costume itself — not the individuals who wore it.
Where Do We Go From Here?
Thankfully, Cayenne disappeared a few years ago.
Today, the Cajuns have no official mascot or spirit leader. A school with an animal nickname makes it easy to have a great mascot. Well-known examples include Texas’ “Bevo” and Tennessee’s “Smokey.”
When your school nickname is not an animal, it can get a little more complicated. There are some good ones like the USC Trojan and the Notre Dame leprechaun.
We suggest Louisiana choose the official state dog — the Catahoula Leopard dog. This mascot could be live or animated or one of each. We also suggest the mascot be named “Boudin.”
We feel this dog checks all the boxes for what a great mascot should be. The time is now for Louisiana to make this easy but important choice.