1937 Red Jackets
2004 former pep squad members reunite
Advocate staff photo by Bryan Tuck
Reuniting in the week leading up to the Middle Tennessee game. Betty Dugal, Diane Sibille, Betty Lowry, Betty Brent Dugal, Catherine Maloney, Dorothy Mims, Jane Ellen Carstens, Barbara Gerami, Bobbie Martin and Corinne Rand___o.

LOUISIANA La. -- Other than their matching red jackets, there was nothing unusual about the five ladies having breakfast together at Hub's Diner in Lafayette.

The waitress stopped to check their coffee, but paused before pouring their refills.

"Say, didn't I see you ladies on the news this morning?

What's your story?"

The ladies in the red jackets all laughed.

"Honey, we were all cheerleaders at the university a long time ago," one answered. "And we're cheering at Cajun Field tomorrow night -- you won't want to miss us."

The Agin' Ragin' Cajun Red Jackets have carved a special place for themselves in the athletic history of the University of Louisiana ... at Lafayette. Some of their group met in the spring to plan this long-overdue reunion that culminated with their appearance at Cajun Field.

Over biscuits and coffee, these "movers and shakers" were busy planning their cheering routines for the Sept. 25 game between ULL and Middle Tennessee.

They were also exchanging memories of a simpler time before television gave Americans the image of cheerleaders as scantily clad, pom-pom toting girls.

The "Red Jacket Club" was created in the fall of 1937 as a women's organization to support Southwestern Louisiana Institute's athletic programs under the directorship of Miriam Callender.

Ellabelle Lusted is credited with the idea of creating the cheering squad whose active members selected new recruits annually from the underclassmen.

They were bound by a strict code of behavior as well as a strict dress code that was incomplete until they donned their distinctive white gloves.

"As far as the Red Jacket ladies reorganizing after 45 years," Corinne Rand___o said, "I think this is great. I hope Miss Mac feels honored that so many of her girls have come back to say what it meant for them to be a Red Jacket -- this is really a big compliment to her."

Miss Mac is Margaret McMillan, a Lafayette legend, who served as the "Red Jackets" faculty advisor from 1941-1959.

Arriving on campus from Gramercy in the '30s, she soon earned her degree in physical education. Under McMillan's direction, the Red Jackets became a widely recognized school leadership groups, promoting school spirit as well as becoming involved in community work throughout Acadiana.

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