#cULture – From the Bird’s Nest
Ever since Billy Napier became the football coach for the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns, the hashtag #cULture has been used in social media. At the time, it described the new era of football for the Ragin' Cajuns. The hashtag has since been used for just about everything positive in Louisiana athletics.
But, for those who have been around a long time, there has been another meaning.
If you've lived here any length of time, you know that Cajun Country is just different. Well, unique would be a much better word.
In South Louisiana, #cULture is embracing your roots. It's taking pride in your home, your family and those you love. It's an incredibly fierce loyalty that not many people understand.
I don't know too many people who defined Ragin' Cajun #cULture better than Lynn Williams.
I got the word about Big Lynn (if you knew and loved Lynn, the word "Big" always preceded his name) early in last night's broadcast of the Louisiana/Tulane baseball game. (I also received word of the passing of Nelson Stokley, Charles Lancon and Dave Thibodeaux during baseball broadcasts as well. They, too, were part of the #cULture.) And, I had to convey that news to those listening. It wasn't easy. It never is.
For 33 years he doled out equipment. And, advice. And wisdom. And defined #cULture.
Lynn was a leader. He led by example. His loyalty to the program was legendary. (It shouldn't be a surprise. Bill "Blackjack" Landry was his mentor.) Ask anyone who worked under Big Lynn. Most will tell you they learned all about work ethic from him. Lynn was quick to tell the student-athletes he'd supply the equipment. It was up to them to supply the guts.
In his younger days, Big Lynn would occasionally make road trips. I learned quickly that an invitation to play booray was an invitation to make a contribution to Lynn's personal wealth. He, for some reason, called me "Jaywood." He said I looked like a "Jaywood."
Whatever that meant.
I also learned, like "Blackjack", there was a kindness you didn't see from a lot of people. The only thing bigger than Lynn was Lynn's heart, his love for people and his love of the Cajuns.
But kindness is a true part of Cajun #cULture, is it not?
Big Lynn was loyal. Especially to those who worked under him. If you wanted to get on Lynn's good side forever, you only needed to do something kind for someone who worked with him. Brad Topham, my baseball broadcast partner, recently brought lunch from the Jambalaya Shoppe to the equipment staff. The gratitude from Lynn was evident.
As the word of Big Lynn's passing got out last night, the tributes from friends flowed. But there has been nothing like the comments from student-athletes who have remarked how Lynn touched their lives.
He did so much more than issue equipment. He made a difference.
You'll be seeing that hashtag more and more. It's meaning runs deep.
Sleep the good sleep, big fellow. Say hi to Blackjack for us.
And, thanks for being the embodiment of what we stand for here in Cajun Country.
Because at the end of the day, it's all about the #cULture.
(Visitation will be at Our Savior's Church 1201 E. Broussard Monday from 4-9pm and on Tuesday from 9:00 until time of service at 11:00 am. Attendees are asked to wear Ragin' Cajuns gear.)