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Official Review by DeRon Talley, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
When you go to a city like New Orleans you always learn something new, whether through historical facts or personal experiences while there, you’re always in for a treat. At Tulane University there is much to learn about the school, but the hardest thing to learn is why its mascot is the Green Wave. However the Green Wave knows how to roll.
The Green Wave basketball teams play their games in Devlin Fieldhouse, which is a newly named and renovated facility. The Devlin was formerly known as Fogelman Arena and before that it was simply the Tulane Gym. It originally opened on Dec. 15, 1933 making it currently the ninth oldest active collegiate basketball venue in the nation. At the start of the 2012-2013 basketball season the name was changed to Devlin Fieldhouse, after two supporters of the school. The Devlin’s maximum capacity is 3,600 and there is a long history behind the building.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
The Devlin has two concession stands. There is one on the ground level in the lobby and another on the second level that wasn't open for the most recent contest I attended. With only the one open, the lines were still very small even during halftime. The menu offers pretty much the basics: Hot dog ($4) and an extra dollar for chili or cheese, nachos and cheese for $4, popcorn and a soft pretzel cost $3.50 each.
A plus on the menu is in the beverages. Devlin offers bottled Coke products and bottled water priced each at $4. And the best thing here is the selling of beer: Coors Light, Miller Lite, Blue Moon, Abita Amber all priced at $6.
The atmosphere is mediocre. Perhaps the thing that kept me engaged was the halftime show. There were two peewee league recreation teams scrimmaging and it seemed the fans got more into that than when the Green Waves were on the court.
The arena is square-shaped with two levels. The seating view is pretty good, especially in the middle where you can see the entire court. Individual seats give plenty of room and are comfortable.
The neighborhood is definitely on the low end of the spectrum for this venue. Tulane is located adjacent to Loyola University of New Orleans and it's actually hard to distinguish the two schools. And for the game I actually parked in a Loyola parking garage.
There is very little in the way of interesting places to go or things to do in the immediate area, but there definitely are things to do being that it is New Orleans and the French Quarter is located a few miles north. The campus is very pretty, but there is virtually nothing in the way of fan interaction. The average fast food joints are all that you will find nearby. So go enjoy the attractions in the Big Easy, but unfortunately none of them could be considered to be within the "neighborhood" of Devlin Fieldhouse.
It's difficult to gauge the fans in this venue. The crowd wasn't very big and at times seemed very disinterested during my most recent visit in early 2013. However, there was a general murmur of support throughout the entire game. The student section wasn't what I consider a collegiate student section either. The only way I noticed it was the student section was because of the high fives some of the guys gave each other when they first got to the game. During the game, they were disengaged. Most of the crowd seemed to be made up of the students and older alumni, with little in between. However, the crowd can get very loud, very quickly as I saw during halftime.
The parking around the arena isn't bad, thanks to the help of Loyola. That's where I parked and it was free. I'm not sure if there is parking on Tulane's campus, so maybe it's something the two schools teamed up with to share the parking garage. Get there early. Otherwise, you'll be circling to the top of the garage. Walkways up to the arena and inside it are very spacious and accommodating. The restrooms are clean and have plenty of room.
A ticket in the upper level only costs $10 or you could pay $16 for courtside and lower level seating, but the view is fine either way. I don't think the return on the investment is good unless you go with the cheaper upper level tickets, and just enjoy the clean new look of this historic facility.
I always give a point for free parking; it's just my pet peeve. But there really aren't a whole lot of extras at Devlin Fieldhouse. It's just a green-filled place.
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