Frank Ocean Attended UL Lafayette In The Fall of 2005, But Somehow No One Really Noticed
There are probably hundreds of guys named Christopher Breaux in south Louisiana. At any given point there are probably a handful of guys named Christopher Breaux on the UL campus right here in Lafayette, but there was one particular Christopher Breaux who attended the University of Louisiana at Lafayette briefly in the fall of 2005. His name was Christopher E. Breaux to be exact, but you probably know him better as Frank Ocean.
Yes, THAT Frank Ocean was once a Ragin' Cajun. I didn't believe it at first because I've always known, but after a quick Google search, there it was, in one of the only interviews Ocean ever granted to the New York Times back in February 2013. We also called one of our inside sources at UL, and amongst the numerous students named Christopher Breaux still in the system, there he was, Christopher E. Breaux - enrolled in Fall of 2005.
Earlier that year, before making his way through Baton Rouge and across the Atchafalaya Basin bridge, Ocean graduated from John Ehret High School in New Orleans and enrolled to attend the University of New Orleans in the fall to study English. By that point in his life, he was already writing music, but his songs were very amateur and unpolished. He wasn't even known as 'Frank Ocean' yet.
Even though his legal name at the time was Christopher Breaux (he later changed it to Christopher Francis Ocean), everyone knew him as "Lonny," and it's what most of his close friends and family still call him to this day. "Lonny" continued to get deeper and deeper into music, even though his mother believed that an education was more important for his future. He stuck with academics, but music was clearly his focal point.
Although Ocean is considered to be one of the most talented artists when comes to expressing himself through song, his initial desire to pursue music had nothing to do with "expression" or "art."
It was about the freedom and the mobility that having money would allow me,
In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit Ocean's hometown of New Orleans. His recording studio was destroyed by the floodwaters, and anything that the floodwaters didn't claim was looted. It was at that point that Frank Ocean transferred to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Though he was continuing to pursue his education (as a Ragin' Cajun), he wasn't recording music. So when a friend in Los Angeles offered him a deal on some studio time he packed up his car to head west, and the rest is history.
Ocean went on to LA and would eventually link up with producers and fall into industry circles that led to him ghostwriting for the likes of Justin Bieber, John Legend, and many other major recording artists. He connected with Odd Future in 2009, and later that year got a record deal as a solo artist with Def Jam through famed producer "Tricky" Stewart.
After struggling to build a relationship with the label, Ocean eventually released a collection of music on his own called 'Nostalgia, Ultra' in February 2011. Though it wasn't an official release through his label, 'Nostalgia, Ultra' was one of the most critically acclaimed albums of the year and strengthened his relationship with Def Jam. It also landed him in the studio with the likes of Beyonce and other huge industry players within weeks.
In Summer 2012, Frank Ocean released his official debut 'Channel Orange' as well as an open letter via Tumblr announcing that he was bisexual. He describes the moment that he revealed his sexuality as one of the scariest moments of his life, but the news was well received by his fans and fellow artists alike. 'Channel Orange' also saw huge success earning him 2013 Grammy nominations for Album of the Year, Best New Artist, and Record of the Year for "Thinkin Bout You." He won a Grammy for Best Urban Contemporary Album, as well the Grammy for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for his work on Jay-Z and Kanye West's "No Church in the Wild."
And to think, his last stop before superstardom was in right here in Lafayette, LA. I wonder if he ever had a Judice Inn Burger? I wonder if he ever had to deal with Johnston Street traffic? Did he ever party downtown? Did you, or anyone you know share any classes with him in that Fall 2005 semester?
We'll never know, but one thing is for sure - Frank Ocean was definitely once a Ragin' Cajun.