Intricate court design, displays make Ragin’ Cajuns® feel at home
The recent $22 million renovation of the Cajundome makes it clear that the arena is branded as the home of Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns® basketball.
The building sports bold University of Louisiana at Lafayette graphics in the south lobby, upper concourse and lower concourse. They include a timeline for the University’s basketball programs, and photos and banners that salute some of its best former student-athletes.
A highlight: an intricate resurfaced court that depicts Cypress Lake, complete with an egret flying overhead.
Courtney Jeffries, ’98, assistant director of Creative Services in the University’s Office of Communications and Marketing, designed the court and arena graphics. “We wanted to bring a part of campus into the Cajundome,” she said.
Based on research she conducted, the Cajundome now has one of the most detailed court designs in the nation. She estimated that it took 60 hours to draw Cypress Lake on a computer for the court. The challenge: using highlights and shadows to make it more than a silhouette.
The 94-foot by 50-foot court is made of 225 panels of northern maple that are pinned together. It was dismantled and shipped to Praters Hardwood Floors in Chattanooga, Tenn., in September. There, it was reassembled and the wood was sanded. The new Cypress Lake design was applied using a stencil and three coats of a custom-mixed wood stain.
Mike Trotter, portable floor sales manager at Praters, said the stencil had many small pieces because of the complex design of Cypress Lake. Those pieces had to be removed by hand to reveal the wood that was not stained.
Many Prater employees chipped in to keep the project on track. “It was taking quite a long time to pull out all the small pieces. So, we had people from the bookkeeper to salesmen to the president of the company on their hands and knees, pulling up those pieces,” he said.
The court took seven weeks to prepare, from sanding to installation. A time-lapse video shows how it was done.
The finished court was dismantled and transported to the Cajundome, where it was reassembled over two days.
Praters handles 50-60 basketball courts each year. “I’ve seen basketball courts all over the United States, from the University of Maine to the University of California. I believe I have a new favorite,” Trotter said.
See the time-lapse video of the creation of the basketball court below.
This article originally appeared in the Fall 2016/Winter 2017 issue of La Louisiane.