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VooDoo Performs Quick Exit

Apr 22, 2024 10:54AM ● By Kelsey Swire
By Jim Gazzolo

Just what made the Voodoo skip town depends on which side you hear do the talking.

The team and league point to problems with the lease and lack of ticket sales.

The City and its friends blame the league and team.

Fingers are easy to point, truth is much harder to explain.

When it comes to the new Arena Football League and its Louisiana franchise, there are a lot of things to unpack. Yet the truth is really simple, the team and Lake Charles never seemed like a good fit. 

The Voodoo officially moved to Lafayette Friday without ever playing a game in Lake Charles and the Events Center, which seems about right when you consider there have been rumors of a possible move almost from the first day.

There was talk that the Voodoo was going to play some games in Kinder, which made no sense to anybody paying attention, and there doesn’t seem to have been a lot of us that really were.

The team was supposed to have families opening up their homes for players, but instead, they were housed at the Horseshoe Casino while going through training camp. 

The league made it tough to get tickets, find out info on teams and even changed up its schedule a few times. 

As for the relationship between the City and AFL officials, it appeared the sides were never on the same page after the opening press conference back in November. Voodoo head coach James Shiver posted the following on his Facebook page:

“I am sorry this happened, a press release from the AFL is coming Monday. All ticket holders will be contacted, and everything will be left in good standing. As I type this the turf is being unloaded."

“To the fans, I am sorry, to quote the movie Red Dawn the 2 biggest guys eventually had to fight. In my profession, I don’t like leaving unfinished business or burning bridges. There has been on going issues for months and my bosses decided it was impossible to continue in Lake Charles. The players and I enjoyed Training Camp and we are ready for a great season. My staff and I have worked long hours to put the best product on the field wherever that field may be. The players and coaches are moving from The Horseshoe Casino today to Lafayette.”

Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter responded with his own statement: “In their short time of managing the Lake Charles Event Center, ASM has delivered on their promise of booking high-quality entertainment for the Lake Charles Event Center. The recently sold-out Parker McCollum concert is a testament to their ability to attract major performances that will bring visitors from all over the country into Lake Charles. With additional nationally touring shows already booked for this year, including Whiskey Myers later this fall, we remain confident in ASM and their goals for the Lake Charles Event Center. The City agrees with the decision to require Event Center tenants to pay their rent and provide certificates of insurance.”

The circling of wagons and finger-pointing complete, the fact remains the team isn’t playing in Lake Charles mainly because there was a lack of real interest from all sides.

It’s probably a good thing when you look at the final days of the defunct old arena team in town, the Swashbucklers, who quit a 12-game season with a record of 4-4. 

That was back in 2013 and since then there has been a lot of talk and not much action when it comes to bringing a professional sports team to town. 

The Voodoo came close, leaving just one week before the opening of its new season. 

Maybe next time we can get a game or two in.

Jim Gazzolo is a freelance writer who covers McNeese athletics. He is the host of Poke Nation on CBS-Lake Charles