Jason Badeaux, the LSU student government president, rising senior and Sigma Phi Epsilon member, and Jared Bassett, a recent graduate and the LSU student government director of athletics, detail the scene before games at Tiger Stadium.
When should I get there? Bassett: Most people get there around 8 or 9 a.m. the next day after setting up the night before. Most of our games are at night as LSU; we really only have one day game a year, which is unique. Tailgating does not happen at the houses; it is all at one common ground on campus called the Parade Grounds. You will see tents of Greek and student organizations and the party typically starts on Friday night before the game. This is when most people come to mark their coveted territories.
Where should you park? According to Badeaux, this is the age-old question. You can pay people to park in their front yards. You can purchase tickets from LSU, and they have lots near the baseball field, fraternity row and by the track.
Are there any rules and regulations? Badeaux: We are at an interesting point at LSU, the university is coming down with restrictions and increased security on Greek specific tailgating due to the loss of freshman [Maxwell Gruver] due to fraternity hazing. It’s going to be a transformative year for LSU tailgating. New regulations will move around where students have tailgated and change traditions of the past. I think we are going to have to get a lot of new traditions created. The future is really up in the air. According to LSU’s campus newspaper The Daily Reveille, the university is attempting to move Greek life back to their chapter houses during tailgates to ensure a safer environment. The tailgating area is so packed that there is a policy on tent size and the use of drones is prohibited.
What should I wear? Badeaux: Garb at Death Valley varies. You can see most men in a casual shirt or polo (creating a see of purple and gold) with jeans, while most women wear sundresses. It’s definitely not the Grove at Ole Miss, we don’t dress up all preppy. We are a little looser at LSU.
What should you bring? Badeaux: A lot of beer and a fun time. In reality, you will be fed no matter what team you are on, so bring an empty stomach too. College football is what brings everyone back together on campus.
What should I eat? Badeaux: You will find traditional Cajun food as soon as you step on the scene: boudin, jambalaya, sausage, crawfish, etouffee, and gumbo if it’s cold enough, all made with unique Cajun spices. Food is so central that one of their cheers revolves around it: “Hot boudin, cold couche-couche, come on Tigers...Push, push, push!”
When visiting teams come to Tiger Stadium, LSU fans make sure to get festive and cook or barbeque the team’s mascot. For instance, during the Florida game you will see many fans cooking alligators. (For Arkansas they cooked a hog.)
What are the best sites to see? If you venture down to Baton Rouge, be sure to check out Mike the Tiger’s habitat sitting in between Tiger Stadium and the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. Their mascot is more than a mascot, it’s an actual tiger.
Bassett: This past year was our first year with our new tiger (Mike VII, Harvey) since the previous one passed away last year with cancer. They stopped the tradition of bringing the tiger on the field with the arrival of this new tiger (they used to put him in front of the opposing team’s locker room so they would have to run around him to get to the field). Animal rights groups put an end to his time in the trailer cage during games. He is still out in his habitat on game days (where there is a pool and stream system) and you can still see him since he sits right next to the field. You can see him roaming around more comfortably, instead of in a trailer cage.
What else should I know about an LSU tailgate? Bassett: The people in Louisiana are as nice as can be and very inclusive, when it comes to tailgating. If you are from the opposing team traveling to the game you are going to be treated almost better than LSU fans treat each other. No guarantees if the opposing team comes in and beats Louisiana.