You’ve seen him around—at sporting events, at the University Union, walking through campus. He’ll be in the Homecoming Parade next week and never misses a chance to cheer with the squad, play with the band or ham it up for a picture. You know him—but how well do you really know him? Meet Louie the Lumberjack and one of the students, a senior studying marketing who also is a connoisseur of cheeses and who transforms into NAU’s mascot when putting on the uniform.
What brought you to NAU?
I came to NAU for a couple reasons. Firstly, I was born here in Flagstaff. My family moved to Tucson when I was three, but I’ve just always felt a connection to this town. Secondly, both my parents went to NAU and met here, so when I was younger, I swore off NAU, but as a senior in high school I felt differently about the school. And thirdly, it was 3.5 hours away from home. UofA was 30 minutes from home. I was less likely to get random visits from my family every weekend if I came to NAU. It gave me much-needed space at the time, which I now kind of sort of miss.
What is your favorite part of being Louie the Lumberjack?
I love being Louie because when I put the suit on, I’m a completely different person. I’m not just another NAU student. I get to represent the university. I carry a lot of pride in being able to portray Louie. Some of the stuff I do in the suit, I would be too scared to do outside of it, but part of it is realizing it’s not you conducting the band with your axe, it’s Louie. No one knows who it is under the suit, so when I’m Louie, I try to do everything I can. One of my favorite parts of a sporting event growing up was the mascot. I loved watching a silly mascot messing with fans or doing goofy poses or playing along with contestants. I always tried getting photos with the mascots wherever it was. So, when I am Louie, I try to bring the same energy for everyone there. I want to be able to make a kid laugh the way they made me laugh and smile.
Tell me about a significant childhood memory and how it has impacted your life today.
I’ll never forget my fifth birthday; my parents took me to Disneyland. They laughed because when we got there, I wasn’t excited for any of the rides or gift shops. My focus was to get my signature book filled up with mascot signatures and photos with all the characters. I got Pluto, Minnie, Goofy, Mickey, Chip and Dale, Buzz and a bunch of others I can’t remember, but I spent the entire day trying to find mascots and interacting with them, I think because of the pure joy they brought me. Now that I’m in college and I get to be that for hopefully other kids, it feels full circle.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I think my stereotypical childhood dream was to be an athlete. Unfortunately, I was terrified of contact in football and very uncoordinated for basketball. So, I played those as much as I could growing up, but then when I got to college, I knew I wanted to at least work in sports.
What have you been most proud of recently?
I am very proud of my academic success as of late. In high school and early college, I skated by on average grades. I didn’t put much effort into my schoolwork then, but when classes started getting harder, my lack of effort started showing. A professor in the business school recently told me that I had knowledge and the ability to be a great student, it just hadn’t always shown, and that I had been lazy. I am very thankful to Professor Braig for her assistance and support in my life and academic career. During my junior year, I started to apply myself more and put in more hours and my grades started showing that. This past semester, I ended with all As and Bs and sadly this pesky 79 percent, but these were the best grades I’d ever had in my academic career. My goal is to graduate with a 3.5 GPA, and as long as I can keep the same work ethic, I think I very well could.
What are three things on your bucket list?
Skydiving and bull riding. Those are two that I have had on my bucket list since about middle school. My dad and a few of his buddies around that time partook in these activities after listening to the song “Live Like You Were Dying” by Tim Mcgraw. As the song goes, “I went skydiving, Rocky Mountain climbing, and 2.7 seconds on a bull…”. I did the rock climbing with my dad and his buddies, but had to pass on bull riding and skydiving. One day in the future I want me and my closest buddies to go skydiving and bull riding. I look up to my dad very much and have always tried to be as much like him as I can.
The first thing on my bucket list was to meet Phoenix Suns star Devin Booker, which coincidentally enough, I got to cross off my list this summer. Meeting him was merely a complete accident and was a very surreal moment. I remember just feeling so happy and on cloud nine after, but then it hit me that I accomplished such a huge moment that I thought would come later in life. But it happened to kick off my senior year here at NAU and I felt it was pretty perfect.
What are you most excited about for the coming year?
Just mainly excited for all the new opportunities and possibilities ahead of me. Being in my senior year, ready to leave here and go into the world and work, I’m just excited to spend time with all my friends here and enjoy creating good memories. I’m also really excited to see the Phoenix Suns—I’m hoping this is their year.
Know someone who would make a good profile in Humans of NAU? Email your suggestions to NAUComm@nau.edu.