Fifty former outstanding Tigers along with a few other LSU faithful now stand watch over the second floor of LSU's Cox Communications Academic Center for Student-Athletes.
Captured in a wall-sized mural are the ones you know — Bradie James, Shaquille O'Neal, Seimone Augustus, Ben McDonald, Anthony "Booger" McFarland, Lolo Jones — and some not-so-familiar names, including author John Ed Bradley, U.S. Marine Luke Boyd and Louisiana state trooper Bryan Madden, who is the head football coach's bodyguard.
The painting was commissioned by the Bengal Belles in recognition of the booster organization's 20th anniversary, and it was painted by artist Jack Jaubert, a former Tiger football player.
"The goal of the Athletic Center is education and getting these young athletes prepared for life beyond sports," says Jaubert, who played center for LSU from 1968-1971. "What I tried to bring out is the importance of being a graduate. There's so much you can do with an LSU degree. I wanted to spotlight those athletes who've gone on and made contributions to the world with their LSU degrees."
Aimée Simon, founder and president of the Bengal Belles, is very familiar with Jaubert's work. He's painted the portraits of all of LSU's All-American athletes that hang in the Athletic Department, and the Tiger Athletic Foundation commissioned him to do paintings of all of Tiger Stadium's expansions. He also created the Bengal Belle's first logo featuring "Belle."
"We commissioned a painting years ago for the left side of the stairs leading to the library at the Academic Center," says Simon. "We needed to fill the mirror-spot on the right side, and we wanted Jack to do it."
Jaubert says the 8-by-10-foot mural focuses on the athletes' careers after leaving the university.
"LSU athletes are in the fields of technology, art, the military, the medical industry," he says. "There are so many different fields student athletes can go into and go on to be successful."
In several meetings with Simon and Kenneth Miles, executive director of the Cox Center, Jaubert explained that he wanted the athletes' hands to reach out.
"Kind of saying 'come, come and do what we did,'" recalls Simon, who did extensive research and spoke with many coaches to find the athletes to include in the mural.
"Bradie (James, who is front and center) is the epitome of the student-athlete," says Simon. "He not only had a successful NFL career, but he started Foundation 56 to raise money and awareness of breast cancer in memory of his mom. I wanted to put a gymnast next to him because the gymnastics team was part of the early fundraisers for the foundation."
Take a look for yourself. Can't see the video below? Click here.
LSU gymnastics coach D-D Breaux, a friend and supporter of the Belles, is included in the mural as is Norman Deumite, the first Bengal Beau and a supporter of the center's library.
Also featured in the mural are Ashley Clare-Kearney, gymnastics; Amy McClosky, gymnastics; Rodney Reed, football; Verge Ausberry, football; Rudy Niswanger, football; Seimone Augustus, basketball; Craig Steltz, football; Corey Webster, football; Ashley Lewis-Rush, softball; Bennie Brazell, football/track; Jennifer Schuelke, softball; Chad Dudley, tennis; Early Doucet, football; Alex Boulet, softball; Katie Lindelow, volleyball; Justin Maclin, football; Lisette Lee Prieto, golf; Lolo Jones, track; Chad Kessler, football; Shanekia Hall, track; Austin Gutgsell, golf; Sara Pollock Dickson, soccer; Joseph "Nacho" Albergamo, football; Miriam Segar, basketball; Colin Jeter, football; Ryan Hebert, football; Jade Bryan, gymnastics; Gordy Rush, football; Ethan Pocic, football; Antoine Simon, baseball; A.J. Andrews, softball; Matt Mauck, football; Marcus Randall, football; Kevin Faulk, football; coach Karen Bahnsen, golf; Eddy Furniss, football; Luke Boyd, football; Ryan Clark, football; Ryan O'Neal, football; Ben Bordelon, football; Tommy LeBeau, football, and Ronnie Haliburton, football.
"It all tells a story," says Simon.
Indeed, at the top of the mural is Kenneth Miles' mantra to the student-athletes — "Conceive it. Believe it. Achieve it." — as well as the center's motto — "Enter to win. Leave to serve."
Jaubert painted the mural in the dining room of mom Shirley Jaubert's home in Lafayette. He took over the space for the year-long project after he and wife Suzanne, with whom he partners in professional ballroom dancing competitions, sold their Baton Rouge home. The two are retiring to the Charlotte, North Carolina, area but he'll be coming back to campus often.
"I have paintings all over this campus," he says with a laugh. "Every time LSU puts up a new building, I do a painting of it."