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Thread: Remembering Phil Beridon and his timeless annual leap into Cypress Swamp

  1. People Remembering Phil Beridon and his timeless annual leap into Cypress Swamp

    LOUISIANA La. — Phil Beridon isn’t crazy. His daughter might disagree at times, but Beridon says that it’s his passion for his alma mater and Acadiana that moves him to jump into Cypress Lake each year.

    “I jump to remind you that Acadiana is a great place to get an education and is a great place to live,” he told the students gathered outside of the Student Union at University of Louisiana.

    As a curious crowd of about 75 students counted down “10, nine ...,” Beridon did a little booty shake and flailed his arms in the air.

    Clad in a headband, wristbands, gray sweats and a red jersey with the number 30 and word “YEARS” on the back, Beridon jumped front first into the lake. Then mid-air, he turned his body, flopping onto his back as he hit the water. It’s his “patented twist,” he said.

    He skipped his usual tuxedo for a retro look in honor of the 30th anniversary of Lagniappe Day.

    The day was stretched out into a week that wrapped up Thursday with Beridon’s jump, a crawfish boil and a concert with Rockin’ Dopsie Jr.

    Beridon is such a legend on campus that Nicole Nelson and her classmate Charles Braus took a break between classes to watch the flop.

    “I just think it’s cool,” Braus said. “I’ve watched him the past two or three years do it. I’d do it.”

    For those who wonder why he does it, Beridon says, “I love UL, I love Acadiana.”

    Before taking his leap, he gave the students standing in front of his makeshift pulpit a history lesson of the Lagniappe tradition that began 30 years ago when the NCAA imposed sanctions on the school’s basketball team.

    “It was basically a two-year death sentence,” he said. The university decided to redirect the fees collected to support the team into a field day for students. It was the start of Lagniappe Day with games, music and boudin.

    Beridon’s first leap into the lake wasn’t successful. That was in 1977, his second year at the university, when he jumped in for his friends who were filming a documentary at the lake. He didn’t jump out far enough, and landed in a shallow area of the pond, spraining his ankle. He was also nearly arrested.

    “I was not under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or narcotics,” Beridon joked with the crowd.

    Over the years, Beridon continued the jump changing his outfits from beach wear and medieval costumes to tuxedos. He dedicated this leap to Mike Flaherty, the superintendent of building services in the Student Union.

    “If not for him, I’d still be jumping into the nastiest pond scum,” Beridon said. “It’s because of him and the Union that it can sustain plant and wildlife. That wasn’t the case 15 years ago.”

    The lake is an on-campus habitat with alligators, turtles, birds and fish. The alligators sunning in the lake don’t scare Beridon, he said.

    “Alligators and I have a very good understanding,” he said. “We appreciate each other’s space. The problem is the snapping turtles. The snapping turtles have an attitude. They don’t get it.”

    Beridon, a retired state employee, is an optometrist at Wal-Mart Vision Center on Evangeline Thruway. He and his family live in Acadiana. His daughter, Amber, 18, will start at UL Lafayette in the fall, but there’s no chance of her taking over her father’s tradition, she said.

    “He’s a little funny sometimes in the head,” Amber Beridon laughed.

    Advertiser Story Removed from Web

    Marsha Sills
    msills@theadvertiser.com


    Phil Beridon in 1991
    He isn’t crazy? No!

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  2. #2
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    love this guy!


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    I watched him jump for the first time this year, and I heard him speak before his jump. I have to say what he said really warmed my heart. He truly has a deep love for this University, as well as Acadiana. He's a good man.


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    This thing is really not played up enough ----next year let's have over 1000 people with national media etc. Have food, drink, and music ----sell our university!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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    UL 1984, 1999 . . . .

    Originally posted by bboomer
    This thing is really not played up enough ----next year let's have over 1000 people with national media etc. Have food, drink, and music ----sell our university!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Lets be sure to leave the gator in there and hungry. It might make the national media if some guy gets a chick of his butt chomped off.

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    Default post moved here from another thread

    Is it actually called "The Swamp" now? When I was there, it was called Cypress Lake.

    That place used to have one of the two highlights of Lagniappe Day: Phil's (can't remember his last name) leap into the Lake in an all-white suit. The other highlight was free beer & crawfish at Cajun Field. Poo-yie!


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    Beridon. He still does this yearly.


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    Originally posted by CajunAmos
    Beridon. He still does this yearly.
    Great, thanks. But it's still called Cypress Lake, right?

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    Officially it is called Cypress lake, but it was a swamp before it was a grove, before it was a lake.

    here is a recent story on Cypress Lake aka The Swamp


  10. Louisiana Lagniappe Day April 21

    The University of Louisiana's University Program Council sponsored the 31st annual Lagniappe Day Festivities on April 21.

    Festivities will kickoff that day with the annual Cypress Lake jump at 12:15 p.m. Amusement games will start at 2 p.m. at Blackham Coliseum followed by the largest crawfish boil of the year at 4:30 p.m.

    Other activities scheduled throughout the week include a photo scavenger hunt, a luau party and a dive-in movie at the Student Aquatic Center on April 19. Also, annual canoe races will be held April 20 at Cypress Lake starting at 3 p.m. A laughfest will follow at 7 p.m. in the Student Union Ballroom.

    Outdoor events are free to everyone. Indoor events are free to all students with a meal plan. Students, faculty, staff and children under 12 may purchase tickets for $7 and escort tickets may be purchased for $9. Note to faculty and staff members: $7 ticket must be purchased in advance at the Student Union Information Desk. Otherwise, tickets will be $9 at the door.

    LOUISIANA E NEWS
    Université des Acadiens

  11. Default Splashdown launches UL's Lagniappe festivities

    UL -- The University of Louisiana on Thursday kicked off its annual Lagniappe Day festivities with the traditional noontime leap of a man into the moderately disgusting waters of Cypress Lake.

    In the finale to the day's events, several thousand pounds of crawfish also took a plunge into water.

    "Serial splasher" Phil Beridon made his annual jump into the on-campus lake, making sure prior to takeoff that onlookers appreciated the levels of duckweed and algae he would soon be sharing with the water.

    Cypress Lake, modeled as it is to recreate a swamp, is safe for the alligators, turtles and various fish species who make it their home, but isn't noted as a swimming destination.

    Lagniappe Day, as part of UL's Lagniappe Week, has been around for 31 years, since 1974, and Beridon started the tradition of the leap 28 years ago.

    An optician at a Wal-Mart Vision Center in north Lafayette, Beridon has only missed two years since he started the tradition -- one for illness and one because an unsympathetic employer wouldn't give him the time off -- but had stand-ins both years.

    He said he invited himself to be a part of Lagniappe Day for the first 10 years or so that he braved the savage lake, and afterward, UL recognized him as an important part of the festivities and started asking him to come.

    Beridon said he's worn costumes ranging from a bikini-style bathing suit to a suit of armor for the jump, but this year chose to wear the jersey of the Louisiana IceGators hockey team and carry a regulation hockey stick, in memory of the Lafayette team that shut down operations earlier this year.

    After the splashdown, Beridon threatened to share with the crowd some of the vegetation he and his stick were festooned with, but the students gathered outside the Student Union wisely gave him a wide berth.

    Claire Pettit, chairwoman of the university's Tradition Committee and junior in mathematics, said Thursday was the capper for a week's worth of activities

    The tradition of Lagniappe Day started when the university's basketball team had been shut down for NCAA violations, and organizers decided to give the student body something to do, she said.

    The entire slate of activities was held on campus until the late 1980s, when Lagniappe Day moved -- with the exception of the charge of the Beridon Brigade -- to the grounds of Blackham Coliseum.

    The events at Blackham Coliseum Thursday afternoon included games, a crawfish boil -- of about 6,000 to 10,000 pounds of crawfish -- and music by Curley Taylor and Zydeco Trouble.

    Story removed from web

    By PATRICK COURREGES
    pcourreges@theadvocate.com
    Acadiana bureau

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  12. People Beridon "The Lake Jumper"

    Gone but not forotten

    Phil at 29th annual Lagniappe Day Jump .

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  13. Alumni The Vermilion on Lagniappe Day


      Lagniappe week offers students a little something extra

    The University of Louisiana at Lafayette kicked off its yearly Lagniappe week Monday with Laugh Fest, the first of a series of laid-back events to help students take a load off amid preparations for end-of-semester stresses, like finals and graduations.

    On Tuesday night at 8 p.m., the Student Aquatic Center hosted a dive-in movie, where students in Hawaiian dress swam and reclined in a poolside chair, watching 50 First Dates on a large-screen projection.

    You can swim, you can sit down and relax, you can do whatever,” said UPC’s Nicole Langlinais. You just kind of chill out. It’s real laid back.

    Students will have the chance to race canoes across Cypress lake Wednesday at 3 p.m. Participants can sign up in the room 206 of the Student Union. At 7 p.m., hypnotist Dale K. will entrance the masses with a live demonstration, where he will attempt to hypnotize up to 20 students on stage.

    On Lagniappe Day, Thursday, the University Program Council will celebrate the life of the late lake jumper, Philip Beridon, who for decades has commemorated Lagniappe Week by dressing in costume and hurling himself into Cypress Lake with the fish, turtles and alligators.

    At 12:15, when Beridon usually took his plunge, UPC will present his family with a memorial plaque and place one on a stump in the lake near his jumping spot.

    He was very dedicated to what he did, and he really enjoyed it, Langlinais said.

    According to Langlinais, the UPC has considered starting anew with a fresh tradition, but wants to recruit someone sharing Beridon’s enthusiasm and commitment to UL Lafayette.

    Our one concern is that we’ll never find someone as dedicated as he was, she said. We don’t want to our person to be different every year, because the tradition was that it was always him.

    This year, the memorial will take the jump’s place, but Langlinais said UPC will be considering ideas for the next tradition in hopes of starting anew in 2008.

    The activities continue Thursday at 2 p.m. at Blackham Coliseum with the yearly stress-relieving, crawfish-laiden bash many students await. Admission will be $7 at the door for students and $10 for the general public, and entrants can purchase raffle tickets to win university attire from the bookstore, an iPod and other prizes. Also, noted musicians Jamie Bergeron and the Kickin Cajuns will be on hand supplying the tunes.

    This year, the UPC will erect a money machine circulating UPC dollars that can be used to purchase other, smaller prizes. Kids at heart will be able to soak themselves on a Slip ‘n Slide and a water slide or spend some energy on a Fun Jump.

    It’s a tradition that’s fun for any Ragin’ Cajun student, Langlinais said. It’s something that makes your college experience unforgettable. It’s awesome that it’s kept going for all these years.



    The Vermilion
    By: Chad West

    Web Link Broken

  14. Alumni Fan Day UL Style


    UL Lafayette students are in for a week of fun as Lagniappe Week 2007 gets under way Monday. The fun continues through Thursday.

    On April 23, a Laughfest is planned for 7 p.m. at the Student Union. Tickets for the event are available in advance at the Union Information Desk.

    The fun continues Tuesday with a Dive-In Movie at the Student Aquatic Center at Bourgeois Hall. “We are Marshall” will be playing at 8 p.m.

    On Wednesday, students will fill Cypress Lake for annual canoe races at 3 p.m. Sign up for the race is in room 206 at the Student Union. At 7 p.m., hypnotist Dale K. will entertain in the Student Union Ballroom.

    Lagniappe Day is Thursday and will feature a Cypress Lake Jump Memorial at 12:15 p.m. Long-time lake jumper Philip Beridon passed away last year. The memorial will be followed by a pepper eating contest at 12:30 p.m. at the Student Union.

    At 2 p.m., festivities begin at Blackham Coliseum. Jamie Bergeron and the Kickin’ Cajuns will provide live music while boiled crawfish and prizes will be available. This event is free for students with a meal plan. Students without meal plans can purchase $7 tickets at the door. Admission is $10 for the general public.

    The source of the story


    For more information about Lagniappe Week, contact the University Program Council at 482-6945.

    Contact: Christine Payton April 20, 2007
    (337) 482-6397, payton@louisiana.edu


  15. People Lagniappe Day 2007


     

    Along the shores of Cypress Lake Thursday on the UL campus it was Lagniappe Day. This year's celebration included a time of remembrance.

    "It'll never be the same without Phil. Maybe I'll take his place next year." University Vice-President Raymond Blanco recalled Phil Beridon, who died last year. Beridon began jumping in Cypress Lake on Lagniappe day in 1977 when he was a student and carried on that tradition for 29 years.

    Red and white balloons were released Thursday in his memory.

    The source of the story


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  16. #16

    Default Re: Phil Beridon and his Timeless Annual Leap Into Cypress Swamp

    Has it been a year already? RIP Phil there will never be another like you.


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    Default Re: Phil Beridon and his Timeless Annual Leap Into Cypress Swamp

    Bump

    Thanks for the link CajunAmos


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    Default Re: Remembering Phil Beridon and his timeless annual leap into Cypress Swamp

    Awesome.

    I was waiting for this thread to reappear.

    Thanks Turbine.


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