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Archives & Special Collections (ASC)

History of the Cardinal Bird: Home

A history of the evolution of the University of Louisville's athletics mascot, known as the Cardinal Bird or Louie. Covers the development of the costume used for in-person appearances as well as the Cardinal Bird's depiction in print.

About this Guide

The University Archives is frequently asked about the Cardinal Bird, the University of Louisville's mascot. When was the cardinal chosen as our mascot? Who was the first person to don the mascot costume, and when did this happen? Has he always been known as "Louie"? And, perhaps most important: why does the Cardinal Bird have teeth?

This guide is meant to help answer some of those questions. The evolution of the Cardinal Bird's depiction in print - our athletics logo - has taken a slightly different path than the development of the costume worn by the "live" manifestation, so these are treated separately. You will also find answers to related questions about our colors (red and black) and our participation in intercollegiate athletics. 

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