Carnival season is already a highlight to most Cajuns living in south Louisiana, but this year’s Mardi Gras festivities had extra “Ragin’” flair across Acadiana, New Orleans, and Washington D.C.
Each year, the Mystick Krewe of Louisianans, a Louisiana State Society of 400 members and guests get together in our nation’s capital for Washington Mardi Gras. The event schedule includes Louisiana ALIVE, Friday Festival, and a Mardi Gras Ball on Saturday.
The University kicks off that weekend in D.C. with a “Cocktails and Conversations” social with Dr. E. Joseph Savoie, President of the University. The social is held for UL Lafayette alumni living in D.C. and gives them the opportunity to meet and socialize with University administration. This year included special guests Dr. J. Bret Becton, Dean of the B.I. Moody III College of Business Administration and Dr. Bryan Maggard, Director of Athletics.
Back in Acadiana, Alumni Association past president, Dr. Michael Judice ‘77, reigned over Lafayette’s Carnival 2018 as King Gabriel LXXIX. Queen Evangeline LXXIX Lauren Guilliot is a freshman at UL Lafayette majoring in pre-dental hygiene and is a member of Kappa Delta Sorority and Ragin’ Jazz Dance Team. Traditionally, King Gabriel, the King of Carnival, is selected from the membership of the Krewe. Queen Evangeline, a young woman of college age, is a daughter of a Krewe member.
The Krewe of Gabriel was formed in 1949 and continues to assist the Greater Southwest Louisiana Mardi Gras Association in improving and expanding Mardi Gras.
Gene Lognion ‘78, Alumni Association past president, served as president of the Greater Southwest Mardi Gras Association this year. The Association coordinates the City Ball and parades. Those duties include securing floats, hiring marching bands, purchasing insurance, and working area governmental agencies. The Association is also responsible for Le Festival de Mardi Gras a’ Lafayette at Cajun Field.
The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Head Football Coach Billy Napier served as Grand Marshall of the Krewe of Bonaparte parade Saturday, February 10. Jerry Luke LeBlanc, Vice President for Administration and Finance, served as Parade Marshall of the Greater Southwest Mardi Gras Association King’s Parade on Mardi Gras Day.
Ragin’ Cajun royalty continued in New Orleans with the Krewe of Endymion and Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club, Inc. UL Lafayette biology major Hannah Autin reigned over the Krewe of Endymion’s parade as queen on February 10.
Bryce Washington, star rebounder for the Ragin’ Cajuns basketball team, rode with his parents, Brent Washington Sr. and Troye Washington, who were King and Queen Zulu. He and his brothers served as princes in the Mardi Gras Day parade.
Mardi Gras is a special time for anyone in south Louisiana, but the Ragin’ Cajuns spirit added to this year’s celebrations made for an extraordinary touch that we can only hope will continue as our UL Lafayette family grows.
Photo: Dr. Michael Judice dons the required signature beard as the King of Carnival.