Music has always been a core component of alumnus Gerald Guilbeaux’s life.
Homecoming week at UL Lafayette is a tradition, unlike any other. The week is filled with fun events and activities that allow alumni and students to show off their Ragin’ Cajun pride. Two of the longest-running traditions during this celebration are the Paint the Town Red Businesses and Schools contests. During both contests, UL Lafayette Alumni Association staff and community members travel around town to see which business and school has the most Ragin’ Cajun spirit. Participants can decorate their buildings, paint their windows, or even perform a skit to show off their pride for the University. As a result, the entire community is “painted red” during Homecoming week.
Susan Fisher, a proud supporter of the University, was one of the original people that came up with the idea for these two traditions. Fisher was a volunteer with the UL Lafayette Alumni Association Homecoming Committee and recalled the reasoning for why Paint the Town Red started. “We wanted to find a way to get the community involved in Homecoming,” said Fisher. The Paint the Town Red Businesses contest was the first of the two created in the late 1980s. The Alumni Association partnered with the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce to bring this idea to life. The two organizations worked together to recruit businesses to participate in the contest. Once they had participants, the actual competition was held very similar to today. Judges traveled throughout the community to view and judge all of the businesses that were participating. “I [even] got limousines donated for the judges to ride around in,” said Fisher. The community immediately loved this new event, and this excitement eventually led to the creation of the Paint the Town Red Schools contest a few years later.
Today, Paint the Town Red judges are escorted in RVs by the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office. You might catch them on the road during Homecoming Week, October 27-November 2!
The week kicks off with two new events this year: Sunday’s Ragin’ Rock’N’Bowl and a Homecoming Block Party on Monday. Other events throughout the week include a Homecoming Mass and reception, Paint the Town Red competitions for participating businesses and schools and the Yell Like Hell pep rally.
The Alumni Association will welcome alumni Ms. Janice Hargrave, Dr. Jack Peck, and Dr. Shawn Wilson back to campus during Homecoming Week as the 2019 Outstanding Alumni recipients.
The Golden Ambassador Society, Red Jackets Alumni Chapter, and Christiana Smith African American Alumni Chapter are all hosting their annual events throughout the week as well.
Homecoming Day begins at 9 a.m. for an Open House at the Alumni Center, followed by the annual Homecoming Parade. Tailgating at the Alumni Hospitality Tent opens three hours before kickoff. The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns face Texas State.
Amanda Gary is the 2019 Homecoming Chair. As an active Alumni Association volunteer, Gary has served on the Homecoming committee for several years and served as event chair for Homecoming’s Food Truck Round-Up and Paint the Town Red Schools.
View the full Homecoming schedule for more information and registrations.
Homecoming 2019 is presented by Home Bank.
Photo: Past participants show off their pride during the earlier days of Paint the Town Red Businesses.