Gov. John Bel Edwards announced the Louisiana Economic Development grant during an event Friday that celebrated Waitr’s new downtown headquarters.
Rachel Lautigar and Dominique Williams will reign as queen and king of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s historic 2018 Homecoming.
Lautigar is a junior from Bastrop, Louisiana, and is pursuing a double major in political science and history. Williams is a junior business management major from Lafayette.
Other members of the Homecoming Court are Jonathan Adams, of Opelousas, Louisiana; Claire Carriere of Lafayette; Rebecca Foley of Coral Springs, Florida; Vickie Lynne Jacquet, of Port Arthur, Texas; Jacob LeMeunier, of Lafayette; Benjamin Messner, of Opelousas, Louisiana; Kaleb Moore, of DeRidder, Louisiana; and Erica Stewart, of Houston.
The court will ride in the annual Homecoming Parade that begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 13. Later that day, members will be presented during halftime of the Homecoming game. The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns will take on the New Mexico State Aggies. Kickoff is 4 p.m. at Cajun Field.
This year’s court is the first since at least the 1930s that’s included both women and men members, said Karli Sherman, assistant director of the Office of Student Engagement and Leadership. She oversees the University Program Council and the Homecoming Court selection process.
With 10 members, the 2018 court is believed to be the largest in University history, Sherman said.
“We expanded the court to include more members of our outstanding student population, and to make it more reflective of the student body as a whole.
“The addition of men to the court’s previously all-female membership is a demonstration of the University’s commitment to creating an inclusive and vibrant campus community. Our students play a major role in sustaining that culture, and this year’s Homecoming Court is a demonstration of that,” she said.
Any registered student organization or athletic team could submit nominations for the court. A panel of faculty, staff, student-athletes and student leaders interviewed the applicants, and assigned scores to each.
The 10 nominees with the highest scores became members of the court. The highest-scoring female and male applicants, Lautigar and Williams, will reign as queen and king.
Young Americans for Liberty, a political organization, nominated Lautigar. She was secretary of its campus chapter.
Lautigar received the 2018 College Woman of Excellence Award from the Louisiana Legislative Women’s Caucus. She serves as Student Government Association chief justice, and is president of the Pulse Campus Ministry. She is the daughter of Scott Lautigar, and Delene and Jamie Rawls.
Williams was nominated by Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns men’s track and field. He throws shot put and discus on the squad.
Williams serves as president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, and is a Sun Belt ambassador, a liason between the University and its athletic conference. He is a member of the Association of Future Alumni, and is the son of Christopher and Bonita Williams.
Jonathan Adams was nominated for the Homecoming Court by the Association of Future Alumni. He is the organization’s executive director.
Adams represented the College of Liberal Arts as Student Government Association senator. He was also SGA’s legislative affairs secretary. The junior political science major is the son of Theresa and Donald Adams.
Claire Carriere was nominated by the Beacon Club, which assists students with disabilities. Carriere serves as its president.
She received the 2018 Volunteer of the Year Award from the Lafayette Consolidated Government. Carriere also works with UL LIFE, a program for young adults with intellectual disabilities. The senior organizational communication major is the daughter of Wendy Reaux and Chad Carriere.
Rebecca Foley was nominated by Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns women’s soccer. She is the team’s captain.
Foley is pursuing an MBA, and previously earned a bachelor’s degree in strategic communications from the University. She is a founding member of Cypress Communications, a student-run public relations firm. She is the daughter of Donna and Brett Schroy, and John and Sheila Foley.
Vickie Lynne Jacquet, a junior mass communications major, was nominated by the Black Women Leadership Association. She is the organization’s president.
Jacquet is a member of the Student Orientation Staff, participates in the Community Outreach Mentorship Program, and has amassed more than 200 community service hours this year. She is the daughter of Vickie Jacquet, and Mr. and Mrs. Jonathan Jacquet.
Jacob LeMeunier is a senior finance major. He was nominated by Sigma Chi Fraternity. He is the fraternity’s pledge educator.
LeMeunier is a member of the Pride of Acadiana Marching Band, and is student manager for the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns men’s basketball team. He is the son of Nock and Jennifer LeMeunier.
Benjamin Messner, a junior English major, was nominated by the Student Leadership Council.
He is the Student Government Association’s co-chief electoral officer. A member of Sigma Chi Fraternity, Messner served as the Intrafraternity Council’s vice president of programming. He is the son of Blake Messner and Stacey Savoy.
Kaleb Moore was nominated by Young Americans for Liberty. He is the organization’s Louisiana State chair, and was named its 2018 Chapter President of the Year.
Moore served as a Student Government Association associate justice. The senior political science major is the son of Joey and Ronald Moore.
Erica Stewart was nominated by Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns women’s track and field. She runs sprints and relays on the squad.
A junior electrical engineering major, Stewart helps recruit students to the University as an engineering ambassador. She is a member of the National Society of Black Engineers, and is the daughter of Jacqueline and Allen Stewart.
Photo caption: Members of the 2018 Homecoming Court are, from left, Erica Stewart, Kaleb Moore, Claire Carriere, Jonathan Adams, Rachel Lautigar, Dominique Williams, Vickie Lynne Jacquet, Jacob LeMeunier, Rebecca Foley and Benjamin Messner. Lautigar and Williams are Homecoming queen and king. (Photo credit: Doug Dugas / University of Louisiana at Lafayette)