Madeleine Ortte Will Reign As UL Lafayette’s Homecoming Queen
Maids on her court are Kristen Michele Ashford of Port Allen, La.; Melanie Calyn Benit of Meraux, La.; Hallie Reneé Boudreaux of Lafayette; Alexandra Dardar of Abbeville, La.; Anna Katherine Devitt of Baton Rouge, La.; and Paola Mercedes Doria of Houma, La.
Nominees for the court are submitted by UL Lafayette student organizations. Senior Ragin’ Cajun football players choose the court after nominees have been interviewed.
The Homecoming Court will be featured on a float in the annual Homecoming Parade that begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 1.
Later that day, its members will be presented on the football field during halftime of the Homecoming game. The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns will battle the South Alabama Jaguars at 4 p.m. at Cajun Field.
Ortte is a senior majoring in speech pathology. She was nominated for the Homecoming Court by Kappa Delta sorority. She has served in a variety of leadership roles in Kappa Delta, most recently as vice president of new member education in 2013.
A member of the University Honors Program, Ortte has maintained a 3.97 GPA, has been on the President’s list since 2011 and is a member of Blue Key Honor Society.
Ortte has been an active member of Ragin’ Cajun Catholics since 2011 and is president of its outreach to Greeks on campus. She has also been a member of the Student Orientation Staff and served as Liberal Arts senator for the Student Government Association.
Ortte was named Outstanding Freshman in Spring 2012 and Outstanding Junior this spring by the Student Leadership Council.
She has volunteered at KRVS Radio Acadie on campus, St. Francis Charity Garden, St. Joseph’s Diner and Girl Scouts of America.
Ortte is the daughter of Josi and Ricky Ortte.
Kristen Michele Ashford was nominated for the Homecoming Court by Phi Mu sorority. She was treasurer for the Fall 2013 Phi Mu pledge class and represented the sorority as a Krewe of Roux maid. Ashford was named Phi Mu Greek Service Woman of the Year for 2013-2014.
A sophomore majoring in nursing, she is a member of the Ragin’ Peppers spirit organization, Infinity Dance Group, National Honor Society of Leadership and Success, Ragin’ Cajun Catholics, and University Program Council Spirit Committee and Street Team.
Ashford has maintained a 3.5 GPA and is a peer mentor on campus. She has been a volunteer for Toys for Tots and the St. Vincent de Paul Society.
She is the 2014 Miss West Baton Rouge Parish Sugar Queen.
Ashford is the daughter of Laynea and Mike Ashford.
Melanie Calyn Benit, a senior majoring in political science and marketing, was nominated for the Homecoming Court by her peers in the Student Government Association. She is SGA treasurer and served as an SGA senator in 2013 and SGA justice in 2012.
Benit has been selected to study economics with Dr. José Pinera, at the Institute for Leadership in the Americas in Santiago, Chile. Pinera is known as the architect of Chile’s self-directed pension system.
Benit is a Republican National Committee campus captain.
She maintains a 3.6 GPA and was awarded an SGA scholarship in 2013, UL Lafayette political science scholarship in 2012 and a UL Lafayette Academic Excellence Scholarship.
Benit is a member of Delta Delta Delta sorority, Student Leadership Council, the University Honors Program, Phi Kappa Phi honor society, Rho Lambda Panhellenic Honor Society and Blue Key Honor Society. Benit was a peer mentor in 2012-2013 and SOUL Camp mentor in 2012.
She is the daughter of Therese and Frederick Benit.
Senior Hallie Renee’ Boudreaux is majoring in elementary education.
She is president of the Theta Xi Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., which nominated her for the Homecoming Court.
Boudreaux maintains a 3.6 GPA and is a member of Kappa Delta Pi Educational Honor Society and Alpha Lambda Delta National Academic Honor Society.
She served on the 2012 Student Orientation Staff, is a member of the UL Lafayette Black Gospel Choir and was secretary of the University’s Law Club from 2012-2014.
A Black Faculty and Staff honoree in 2013 and 2014, she was recognized at the Spring Honors Convocation from 2012-2014.
Boudreaux is an Immaculate Heart of Mary youth lector and a member of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Choir. She volunteers with United Way, Miles Perret Cancer Services and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Health Screening.
Boudreaux is the daughter of Gerald and Carlos Boudreaux.
Senior Alexandra Dardar was nominated for the Homecoming Court by the Institute of Management Accountants. The accounting major has been a member of that group since 2013 and is its vice vice president of communications.
She maintains a 3.89 GPA, has been named to the Dean’s list and the President’s list and is the recipient of B.I. Moody III College of Business Administration scholarships.
Dardar has been a member of Beta Alpha Psi accounting honor society since 2012 and was vice president of its service activities in 2013.
She volunteers at Habitat for Humanity and St. Joseph’s Diner, and is a life teen leader for confirmation students and lector for St. Alphonsus Catholic Church.
Dardar is the daughter of Susan and Clayton Dardar.
Anna Katherine Devitt is a student-athlete majoring in public relations.
She’s a member of the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns cross country team and the track and field team. A junior, she was named an NCAA Academic All American, named to the Sun Belt All Conference team for cross country and indoor track, and named to Sun Belt Commissioner’s list.
Devitt was the women’s track and field Scholar Athlete of the Year and the Louisiana Sports Writers Association’s cross country Freshman of the Year.
She is a member and licensing chair of Delta Delta Delta sorority, which nominated her for the Homecoming Court.
Devitt, who maintains a 3.9 GPA, is a member of the University Honors Program and Alpha Lambda Delta Honors Society. She was named to the Presidents List and was a finalist for UL Lafayette Scholar Athlete of the Year.
A member of Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship, Devitt volunteers for Hearts of Hope and Race for the Cure. She is Lafayette area director of Ozone Youth Ministries.
She is the daughter of Karen and Jim Devitt.
Paola Mercedes Doria is a senior majoring in dietetics. She was nominated for the Homecoming Court by the Student Dietetics Association; she is the association’s vice president. Doria is also a member of the Acadiana Nutrition and Dietetics Association.
Doria was a member of the Student Government Association for five years and received SGA scholarships in 2013 and 2014.
In 2013, she participated in the Study Abroad Program in Florence, Italy.
Doria is a member of Delta Delta Delta sorority, served on the Greek Life Core Team of Ragin’ Cajun Catholics, was a member of the University Program Council’s executive board and was a SOUL Camp student mentor in 2014.
She is listed in Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges and was named to the dean’s list in 2012-2013 and the president’s list in 2014.
Doria is a member of St. John’s Cathedral Core Team and the “Veritas” staff. She is also a Habitat for Humanity volunteer.
Doria is the daughter of Dr. Raul and Kati Doria.
“Ragin’ Cajuns Ever After” is the theme of this year’s Homecoming at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
“It reflects all the success that University athletics has enjoyed,” said Joelle Boudreaux, Homecoming 2014 chair. “It’s been a great year.”
The Ragin’ Cajuns won their third consecutive R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl in December, the men’s basketball team earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament in March and the men’s tennis team won the Sun Belt Conference Championship in April. The Ragin’ Cajuns softball team made the school’s sixth appearance at the Women’s College World Series in May, the same month the baseball team was named the nation’s unanimous No. 1 team. CBS.com ranked UL Lafayette 34th in its Best in College Sports ranking in July.
Homecoming Week is filled with traditional events – and a few new ones – intended to draw alumni and supporters to campus. Activities will culminate with the 4 p.m. gridiron battle on Saturday, Nov. 1, between the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns and the South Alabama Jaguars.
“There will be plenty of events and activities for the community the entire week, from Sunday through Saturday, from bowling to golf and tennis tournaments to the Allons Manger Food Truck Roundup,” Boudreaux said. “We’re excited. We want Ragin’ Cajun fans to come out and wear red to show their support and spirit, and to have fun.”
The Food Truck Roundup is a new event that was added to help kick off Homecoming 2014 Week from the Alumni Center, Boudreaux said. “It offers a central location for everyone to gather around and enjoy a great lunch with lots of options.”
Nine food trucks will sell their specialties at the Alumni Center, 600 E. St. Mary Blvd., from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 27. They are Kona Ice of Acadiana, Rice Kings, Chef Gregory, Cajun Flavor Cooking, Mad LuAnn's, Blanchard’s Barbeque, Cakin' it to the Streets Dessert, The WOP Wagon, and the Bus Stop.
Some basketball fans will take a quick road trip to New Orleans on Tuesday, Oct. 28 to celebrate Elfrid Payton’s “homecoming.” It will be the first time Payton, former Ragin’ Cajuns basketball player extraordinaire, will compete in Louisiana since being drafted by the Orlando Magic in the first round of the NBA draft earlier this year. The Magic will face the New Orleans Pelicans at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans. The event was coordinated by the UL Lafayette Alumni Association and the New Orleans Ragin’ Cajun Club.
Traditional Homecoming events that lead up to Homecoming Day include Ragin’ Cajun Bowling from 4-6 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 26 at Lafayette Lanes. Teams of six people will bowl, and attendees can enjoy 1970s music and refreshments.
Paint the Town Red contests for Lafayette businesses and schools also are planned. A panel of judges will choose the most spirited businesses and schools on Tuesday, Oct. 28 and Thursday, Oct. 30, respectively.
Judges for Paint the Town Red are: Brett Baer, former placekicker for the Ragin’ Cajuns; Robert Harris, King Rob Productions; Ken Judice, BancorpSouth; Kip Judice, Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office; Bruce Mikells, 97.3 The Dawg; Hans Nelson, BIG 102.1; Jenn Nelson, BIG 102.1; Gail Savoie, UL Lafayette; Kassie Stoute, Sodexo; and Tracy Wirtz, KATC TV3.
Steve Oubre, a Lafayette architect, will be honored by the UL Lafayette Alumni Association Thursday as this year’s Outstanding Alum. The 1976 graduate is a co-founder of Architects Southwest, which specializes in new urbanism and campus planning. The Village of River Ranch in Lafayette is an example of new urbanism. It’s based on the concept that neighborhoods should be places where residents can walk to retail businesses, offices and recreational facilities, and enjoy a sense of community.
Oubre designed the University’s Walk of Honor, designed the expansion and renovation of Dupré Library on campus, and guided the University’s Master Plan for campus growth and development that was adopted last year.
Dane Adams, president of the Student Government Association, said Homecoming is one of his favorite times of the year.
“I love how Homecoming pulls the University together, whether it’s the float building by student organizations, or the many ways the community shows its support, including by attending the Homecoming game to get behind the football team and the University,” he said.
The Yell Like Hell Pep Rally is set for 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 30. Fans will gather at Cajun Field to show their support of the Ragin’ Cajuns.
On the Homecoming agenda Friday, Oct. 31 are a tennis tournament and the Bill Bass Open Golf Tournament. The University Wind Ensemble’s annual Homecoming Concert will be a treat Friday night, since it falls on Halloween. It will feature fairy tales, fables, and haunting stories. Concert-goers are encouraged to dress in costumes.
Homecoming Day begins with a Ragin’ Road Race at the Alumni Center, followed by an open house at the Alumni Center from 9 a.m. to noon.
The Homecoming Parade will roll at 10 a.m. It will start at Blackham Coliseum. A float carrying the Homecoming queen and her court will stop in front of the Alumni Center long enough for a toast by UL Lafayette President Dr. Joseph Savoie.
Fans can register to win a Ragin' Cajuns-themed golf cart. The Ragin’ Cajuns Athletic Foundation Golf Cart Raffle drawing will be held at halftime of the Homecoming game. Online ticket sales end on Thursday, Oct. 30, but raffle tickets can be purchased for $10 on game day at a tent near the ticket office at Cajun Field.
Kickoff of the contest between the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns and the South Alabama Jaguars is set for 4 p.m. at Cajun Field.
Learn more about Homecoming events at Louisiana.edu/homecoming.