the Football issue

by Mike Bass with contributions by Erin Z. Bass photos by Travis Gauthier Tailgreats

I t’s 8 a.m. on gameday, and David Dugas is fiddling with the laptop/dual speaker PA system that acts as his DJ station. Above his head a banner reads: “WELCOME TO RAGIN’ CAJUN TAILGATING A TRADITION OF JOIE DE VIVRE WHERE THE ROADKILL MEETS THE ROUX AT THE HANDS OF THE KREWE DE CHEW.” This slogan embodies what one of UL Lafayette’s oldest tailgating groups is all about: good times and good eats. Before the day is over, thousands of fans will walk by the krewe’s spot on Reinhardt Drive. Many will stop in to dance to Cajun music, grab a plate of BBQ and visit for a while. On any given gameday, the krewe feeds around 125 people, and rival teams usually receive an invitation to stop by for a bite. “Visiting fans say, ‘We’ve never seen anything like this before,’” says Dugas, who serves as pitmaster along with his DJ duties. It’s his job to cook the BBQ chicken and

“It got so popular,” says Dugas, “everyone would stop by and ask ‘When are you doing the roosta dance?’” Now Krewe de Chew posts a “Rooster Call” schedule so other tailgaters will know when they can see the show. Twice on gamedays, the DJ plays the signature song. Krewe members don rooster masks, flap their arms and throwMardi Gras beads to visiting fans brave enough to shake their tail feathers. The camaraderie of this party is what attracts fans to the 20-plus-year-old krewe’s shindig. “We invite everyone,” says Monceaux, a retired alum. “Cheerleaders come chicken dance with us, and everybody in the Sunbelt Conference loves to come to our tent.” “We have a few folks from other conference teams that we’ve gotten to know,” says Dugas. “They say, ‘If you’re gonna make one away game, UL is the place to come.’” Since that first Cajun BBQ spread, the krewe’s menu has ranged from Boston butt, gumbo and red beans & rice to jambalaya

pork ribs for the first game of the season, when it’s still too warm for gumbo. A UL Lafayette alum and oilfield executive, Dugas tows his large pit behind his truck and slathers his ribs with a concoction of Sweet Baby Ray’s® BBQ Sauce, brown sugar and several secret ingredients. While Krewe de Chewmembers meet weeks before the opening game to discuss the season’s menu — home-cooked appetizers, entrees, sides and desserts — this group of about 15 couples is just as well-known for its unleashed revelry. Co-founder Randy Monceaux remembers how one of their most popular traditions began. “The rooster dance started at my house when we had a supper one night,” he says. “We played the song and everybody started dancing with their arms.” The song Monceaux refers to is “You Can’t Rooster Like You Used To” by Zydeco Joe. The “rooster” grew into a dance party every time the song was played at their tailgating spot.



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