New Orleans, with all of it's own charms, also has the benefit of being perfectly positioned just an hour away from one of the biggest SEC tailgating destinations in the conference. Take a road trip from New Orleans one Saturday this fall and see it for yourself. As a born and raised Baton Rouge girl turned LSU alumna, I've had my fair share of lessons learned for creating the best gameday experience at LSU. Here's the essential info for about my tips for having a successful gameday:
OUTWIT GAMEDAY PARKING
Paying for parking at an LSU game is for the unexperienced tailgater. Finding free parking is easy with these tips - If a special tailgating permit is required, you'll see a sign and usually a guard at the lot or temporary yellow signs. You can ignore any permeant permit required signage, as that isn't enforced on the weekend. This means that parking at dorm lots, the student recreation center and the giant field lots are all free game. If your tailgate is by Burbank, the business school or the stadium - consider the hayfield lot behind the baseball stadium. If your tailgate is by sorority row, the law building or the parade grounds - park by the rec. Just don't park on any historic oak tree roots, as they're endowed for millions of dollars and protected like you wouldn't believe. SEE OFFICIAL PARKING MAP HERE
Photo Credit Greg Rundell
DON'T MISS THE GOOD STUFF
Start with a list of everyone you've ever heard tell you something like "We have a tailgate at LSU, you should come by!" and figure out their exact geographic location. "We're the purple tent on the parade grounds" unfortunately is not going to cut it. Get an idea of the general map in your mind and how far you're willing to walk from place to place across the giant campus. If you don't have a tailgate to stop by, consider one of the bars around campus that have block parties in their parking lots - Walk On's is a huge hit, and Fred's is great if you're ready for a throw back to partying in your early 20s. In addition to locking down a home base, there's a few must sees for newbies around the stadium:
TIGER BAND MARCHING DOWN VICTORY HILL - 1.5 hours before kick off
The players enter the stadium an hour and a half before click off. But to celebrate, thousands of people line up on the along hill by the stadium from the Manship school to the stadium gates. The band, golden girls perform as they run down the hill. It's something you have to see at least once.
MIKE THE TIGER'S HABITAT
Right across the stadium, don't miss the multi-million dollar home of LSU's beloved Mike the Tiger. Cared for 24/7 with a person veterinary staff, this tiger was saved from a tiny tourist stop in Florida and is now living in luxury. He might even be swimmin in his little pool when you stop by.
So if you're like most visitors, you'll have a friend with a tailgate that you're going to stop by. Don't show up empty handed! Contribute a case of beer or a container of potato salad that you threw in the cooler. Tailgate hosts are the real MVPs, so show them the love they've earned by securing a spot at 4 am on game day and cooking for you all day.
LEARN THE INSIDERS GUIDE TO GAME DAY BATHROOMS
It's like Mardi Gras all over again, but there are a few tips to know. Some buildings on campus are open with Bathrooms and the union is always one of them. Ignore the bathrooms on the first floor and even the second - head all the way up to the third floor and take a left. Hidden in a corner is a 4 stall bathroom with usually short lines. The bookstore also always has their bathroom by starbucks open and plays loud music - we've come to call it "club bathroom". Also, Jazzfest trailer potties are available by the visitors center on the parade grounds. If you're braver than me, you'll also be fine with the port-o-potties all over the place. As a side note, these lady pee funnels I got for port-o-potties at Mardi Gras have changed my life and come highly-reccomended.
PICK YOUR POISON WISELY
All day tiger tailgating is not for the faint of heart. When we were in the thick of it, we would get to the tailgate at 5 am and leave at 10 pm. You have to make good choices, especially if you're trying to make it through the game. Yes, that game of flip cup looks awesome, but maybe don't play with your vodka instead of beer. Look, I'm not judging - just a friendly voice from someone who has been there:
KNOW THY LSU CONTRAFLOW ROUTE
If you do make it to game-time, know that all of the traffic lanes will be contraflowed, directing all lanes out of campus. This is great if you're headed back to New Orleans, but not so great if you wanted to take a back route you know or make a stop along the way at a friend's house near campus. The maps of what roads are blocked changes weekly and has no rhyme or reason, so look online for contraflow maps or roll down the window and have your designated driver ask the cops what's up.
What's your go to tailgating spot? Did we I miss any must know tips?
Drop me a line in the comments.
In some serious tiger pride,