What gets our blood boiling like a hot pot of gumbo? What makes us paint faces and don costumes outside of Carnival? What rouses us out of bed at the crack of dawn besides the opening day of duck season?
Two words: Louisiana football.
We are all members of the Who Dat Nation, proudly cheering the New Orleans Saints, but we have just as much passion for our college teams, which have storied histories predating that of our professional team. Join in the pageantry of a Louisiana football Saturday, and get a taste of what’s guaranteed to be the best tailgating in the country.
Conference: Western Athletic Conference
Did you know: In the 1960s, NFL great Terry Bradshaw played second-string quarterback behind Phil Robertson. Robertson gave up the game, with a year of eligibility left, to pursue his passion for duck hunting. His family can be seen on A&E’s Duck Dynasty.
Tailgater’s tip: Before each home game, tailgaters are given a theme and encouraged to cook the same dish. (For a recent game against Hawaii, tailgaters held a pig roast.) On game day, judges peruse tailgates and sample the fare, awarding prizes for best food, best-decorated tailgate and largest tailgate.
Where to celebrate a victory: Dawg House Sports Grill
View the Louisiana Tech Football Schedule.
Conference: Sun Belt Conference
Did you know: The Warhawk mascot is a nod to the area’s historical connection to the P-40 “Warhawk” airplane flown by General Claire Chennault and the Flying Tigers of World War II. Chennault made his home in Monroe after the war. Visit the Chennault Aviation & Military Museum in Monroe to learn more.
Tailgater’s tip: The Grove is a popular spot to set up for pregame festivities, and players walk through it to pump up the crowd. Don’t miss the annual ULM Chili Cook-Off, a tailgating tradition held before one game each season. There are student and open divisions. Vote for the chili you think deserves the People’s Choice Award.
View the schedule for the Warhawks.
Mascot: Ragin’ Cajuns
Conference: Sun Belt Conference
Did you know: Ragin’ Cajun field is known as “The Swamp,” appropriate given that the school’s campus has its own swamp next to the Student Union. In fact, the swamp is located on top of the original football field.
Tailgater’s tip: Find your way to the tailgate of the Krewe de Chew and take notes on how these pros do up game day. Introduce yourself and they’ll surely feed you. Recipes for a few of their made-from-scratch dishes can be found on their website.
Where to celebrate a victory: Pete’s Family Sports Grill
Conference: Southland Conference
Did you know: When the Demons take on Stephen F. Austin Jacks each year, the teams battle for Chief Caddo, the largest trophy in college football. Named for the Caddo Indian tribe that settled the area, Chief Caddo is 7 feet, 6 inches tall and 320 pounds.
Tailgater’s tip: Demon Alley tailgating is very popular. It’s the site of Vic’s Fun Zone, which has inflatable games and other entertainment for kids. The new Collins Family Pavilion has restrooms, picnic-style seating and big screen televisions so you can check on your other favorite teams on game day.
Where to celebrate a victory: Mama’s Oyster House
Conference: Southwestern Athletic Conference
Did you know: Leaving your seat at halftime is a big mistake. The GSU Tiger Marching Band is known for putting on a high-stepping, heckuva show. Wait to get your hot dog and Coke, or you’ll be sorry.
Tailgater’s tip: Take a tailgating timeout to visit the Eddie G. Robinson Museum. The coaching legend won 408 games at GSU and sent more than 200 players to the NFL. Get there early on game day; it opens at 9 a.m. and closes two hours before kickoff.
Conference: Southeastern Conference
Did you know: Today, the LSU mascot is a Bengal tiger, but its first live mascot was a black bobtailed tiger named Little-Eat-‘Em-Up. Donated by an alumnus in 1924, the tiger was lost his status when the team went winless that year.
Tailgater’s tip: Find a spot along North Stadium Drive, also known as Victory Hill, and watch the Golden Band from Tigerland march to the stadium while playing “Hold That Tiger.” The team also walks down Victory Hill, a tradition that began in the early 1990s.
Where to celebrate a victory: The Chimes Restaurants