Henry and Billie Duhon HebertIt is a pleasure to honor two outstanding fans for recognition on the Special Fans Page of the Athletic Network.
Henry and Billie Duhon Hebert exemplify everything one would expect to be widely recognized as "Special Fans" of their beloved Ragin' Cajuns. Season tickets holders since the early 1950s when Billie was the secretary of retired Brigadier General Charles R. Durand, SLI Athletic Director, they have endeavored to attend as many athletic contests as possible - not just home games. Only Billie's health keeps her away from recent activities, but she watches as many games as possible on television or streamed, both at home and away.
I had the good fortune to meet Henry during my first year as a USL HPER faculty member in 1967-68. Coach Bob Cole and Athletic Director Whitey Urban had recommended that I contact Henry to assist with the I.A. & O.A. Relays and the State Class B Track & Field Meet, both hosted by USL. Henry was invaluable in the coordination of those two meets and in talking to Coach Shipley, I learned that Henry was just as supportive of the Men's Basketball Program and the university as he was of the Track & Field Program. Needless to say, I have leaned how easy it was to respect and admire Henry for his many contributions to Athletics and the university. In these endeavors, Billie has been at his side and, as a team, they are "THE BEST."
Peace, Ed Dugas
Wedding Bells for Billie Duhon and Henry Hebert on February 6, 1954.
1966 Southwestern Relays - Cliff; Jim Ryan, great U. of Kansas miler; Eddie - sons of Henry & Billie Duhon, university Track & Field supporters.
Photo Courtesy of Clerk of Court Louis J. Perrett - Under the mantel, “Ragin’ Cajuns Lineup” in 1969, the University of Southwestern Louisiana Century Club board included (seated L-R): Richard D’Aquin, president (a former Daily Advertiser Publisher); Alvin Smith, vice president; Billy Bell, secretary; Louis Mann, treasurer, Bob Wright, past president. Back row: J. C. Rogers, Leon Moncla, Sidney Ory, Henry Hebert, Dr. Al Beacham, John Houser, Billy Bolton, Billy Michot, Alex Sterling, and J. Y. Foreman.
Judi Ford Nash was a USL Gymnastics/Trampoline athlete during the 1967 & 1968 seasons. In September, 1968 she won the Miss American title with trampoline as her special talent and served as 1969 Miss America.
Judi Ford Nash, Honorary Queen of the 1968 Bayou Classic, escorted by Henry Hebert, President of the Century Club.
Henry & Billie supporting the Ragin' Cajuns at New Orleans Bowl.
Henry and Billie Hebert have been avid Ragin' Cajun fans for all of their adult lives. Their involvement with UL Athletics began not long after they first met . Henry’s account of their first meeting goes something like this: “I was working at Paul Deblanc’s Phillip 66 service station off Jefferson, when I was in school. Every Sunday afternoon, I was responsible for servicing all the Mello Joy Coffee delivery trucks. I would wash them, change the oil, repair tires, things, like that. On one of these Sunday afternoons, five young ladies that were walking by caught my attention. I knew one of them, Mary Alice Clark. I later asked Mary to help me and get me the name and phone number of the cute girl walking with her. It was Billie Duhon! That’s how it all started!”
When Billie and Henry were married, in 1954, she was working as the secretary for then Athletic Director of SLI, General Charles Doran. As part of her compensation, she received season tickets to all Bulldog home games. After their marriage, Henry started a tradition for his family, and has purchased season tickets to all home games of UL football, basketball, and baseball to this day!
Henry’s association with the UL Athletic Department began when he and Billie house-sat for Dutch and Martha Reinhardt in 1954, while they were in Wisconsin at Red Arrow Camp. . That was the beginning of a life time of support for UL Athletics.
Henry was working for Southern Bell Telephone when he and Billie first married. His father opened a small cabinet shop on Johnston Street and called it Top’s Woodworks, providing custom built cabinetry to homebuilders in the Lafayette area. After several years of steady growth, and due to his father’s failing health, Henry left Southern Bell and took over the operation at TOP’s. For over fifty years, Top’s Woodworks provided quality products and services to their customers throughout Acadiana. Hundreds of Ragin' Cajun student athletes have worked for Top’s through the years, earning extra cash to help with their expenses while going through school.
Henry and USL’s legendary Track & Field Coach, Bob Cole, became friends in 1963, soon after Cole started his illustrious coaching career. Billie invited Bob and Jeanine and their family over for dinner one Sunday afternoon not long after they arrived in Lafayette. It wasn’t long before Henry was volunteering as an official timer for the track meets held at McNaspy Stadium. For many years, the Southwestern Relays attracted many great track teams from around the US. In 1966, the University of Kansas , with their great sub-four minute miler, Jim Ryan, came to Acadiana to compete in the Relays. Henry organized a saltwater fishing excursion in Vermillion Bay for the Kansas team while they were here. For many years, Henry drove Coach Cole’s athletes to cross country and track meets around the country. When the team was loading up to leave for the Houston Invitational one year, Coach Cole called Henry over and handed him the clipboard, stopwatch and money for meals, mentioned he had a scheduling conflict, and said, “in addition to being our driver, I need you to be coach for this one, Henry.”
The Hebert family has always been active in community affairs. Henry has volunteered for many civic organizations in Acadiana. He was a founding member of the Century Club. In 1967, as president of the Century Club, he escorted the Bayou Classic Queen, Judy Ford, who later became Miss America. Under his leadership, when Henry served as President of South Louisiana Mid-Winter Fair, the organization raised over $10,000 for university projects. There are countless other contributions made by this great Lafayette family.
Billie and Henry recently celebrated their 64th wedding anniversary. Their love and support of SLI, USL, UL, and its athletic programs has been passed down to their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. When the USL Basketball team made the Cajun Dome their home, Henry started a family tradition. Each year under the Christmas tree, the Hebert’s children, Paula, Cliff, Eddie, Julia and their spouses would find season tickets to Section 126 of the Dome. During the Cajun baseball season, you will usually find Henry and Billie on the third base line of Tigue Moore Field at Russo Park. In Henry’s own words, “the Hebert Household bleeds red, Cajun Red.”
Thank you Henry and Billie Hebert for your lifelong support to our great institution and it’s Athletic programs.
Eddie Hebert, Jack Causey, Henry Hebert on 2/21/2018
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