Zodaics of New Orleans celebrate local tradition at 2017 USBC Women's Championships

By Scott Simon and Aaron Smith
USBC Communications

The Zodiacs of New Orleans have been a staple of tradition and fun at the United States Bowling Congress Women's Championships since 1969, and the team celebrated its 49th appearance in 2017 on its home turf in the Pelican State this week.

LSU_250Better known as "The World's Best-Dressed Bowling Team," the Zodiacs of New Orleans have attended the USBC Women's Championships each year in handmade costumes, and the team's costume theme in 2017 focused on Louisiana State University (LSU), located just minutes away from the Raising Cane's River Center.

Led by Zodiacs founder Linda Prattini of Metairie, Louisiana, the two teams participating at the Women's Championships memorialized LSU's rich athletic tradition, adorned in purple and gold.

Part of that tradition includes the school's baseball program, which advanced to the College World Series in Baton Rouge on Sunday, coinciding with the Zodiacs trip to the River Center.

"LSU is in a lot of sports, so we have football, basketball and baseball displayed," said Prattini, who made her 51st consecutive tournament appearance in 2017. "Isn't that something about the baseball team? I mean, how special is that? Very special, for sure."

boxingThe theme also honored Prattini's uncle, Warren Delesdernier, who attended LSU in the 1940s. Delesdernier was a boxing champion at LSU before going to serve in World War II, where he was killed in action when Prattini was just 2 years old. She wore his boxing medal in remembrance.

"My uncle won this in 1941, the year I was born," Prattini said. "My grandmother gave it to me when I was 18 because I only had two years on this earth with my uncle, and she gave it to me since my first name begins with L. I had diamonds put in it, and it's very special to me."

The Zodiacs debuted at the 1969 Women's Championships in San Diego as a protest of the tournament's dress code, which was lifted two years later at the 1971 event in Atlanta.

Since then, the Zodiacs have continued the tradition, and their costume themes often include the tournament's host city or events happening in their hometown of New Orleans, such as Hurricane Katrina and the New Orleans Saints win in Super Bowl XLIV.

Looking ahead to the team's 50th year at the 2018 Women's Championships in Reno, Nevada, Prattini already is working on the theme - Golden Girls.

"We'll be wearing gold because it's the 50th year, but that's all I say for now," Prattini said. "Everything else about what we'll wear is a secret, but believe me, it's be very special."

Joining Prattini on the lanes at the River Center this week was Kathy Ayme, Denise Chamberlain, Muriel Staunton, Sandra Gulley, Lynne Champagne, Linda Simoneaux and Judith Vincent.

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