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Official Review by Anna Claire Thomas, Stadium Journey Correspondent
Louisiana Tech University, and the town of Ruston, La., is very quaint and traditional in every sense of the words. Joe Aillet Stadium sits in sort of a bowl shape, slightly below the ground. The stadium, named after legendary coach Joe Aillet, was opened in 1968 with a capacity of 23,000. Throughout the years the press box has seen various renovations and 7,600 seats were added, to stretch the seating capacity to over 30,000 and in 2006, field turf was installed to enhance the stadium.
Joe Aillet Stadium installed a $2 million high definition video board and new sound system before the start of the 2009 season. The stands are in dire need of replacing. Apart from the season ticket holders' chairback seats, fans can expect a run-of-the-mill experience as far as seats go at college football stadiums. Overall, the stadium is a fine place to watch a college football game on a sunny, fall afternoon in north Louisiana.
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 food and beverage at Joe Aillet Stadium left a lot to be desired. The options at concessions do not offer a lot of variety. The menu consists of hot dogs ($3), hamburgers ($4), nachos ($3), popcorn ($2), and candy ($3). Pepsi products are available in 20 oz. bottles only ($3.50), and the concession stand lacks any souvenir/collectible cups for fans. The food and beverages could greatly improve with a few minor additions to the menu. There are only a limited number of concession stands available throughout the stadium, although there is a Maggie Moo's ice cream stand to give fans a cold treat on a hot, Louisiana afternoon. Fans should probably make arrangements to eat ahead of time.
Joe Aillet Stadium offers an overall good place to see a college football game. The stadium saw the new addition of Dawgzilla (jumbotron) in 2009, which greatly enhanced the game day experience at the Joe and gets the fans involved throughout the game. The school band cannot match the excitement the video board gets from students and fans alike. The alumni side of the stadium provides seatback chairs for season ticket holders, but other than that, it contains your average, run-of-the-mill stadium bleachers.
The tailgating on campus is quite impressive, considering the size of the school and the fan base. The fans are incredibly enthusiastic and alumni come out in droves to support the Bulldogs early in the day. There are not a lot of pre-game options within walking distance of the stadium. One of the best choices is The Dawg House. Located just under a mile away from the stadium, The Dawg House offers a plethora of different hamburgers and tons of other choices for a great meal. One of The Dawg House's signature dishes is Paw Claw's, which are chicken fingers dipped in your choice of three sauces. Louisiana Tech athletics is the theme of The Dawg House's menu and decoration so it is a great place to spend time before or after a big game.
Louisiana Tech fans are very ardent and loyal, mostly consisting of university alumni and current students. The student section was mostly full except for a few bare spots in the corners of the stadium, and decked out in a sea of red for Tech's annual Red Out game against Hawaii. The alumni side of the stadium also was well represented to enhance the energetic atmosphere.
I was very impressed with the turn out of the fans and the energy they brought to the game. The fans complimented the video board well, as they danced and sang along with it. The fans are also incredibly enthusiastic every time the Bulldogs get first downs, as they shout in unison, "MOVE THE CHAINS, MOVE THE CHAINS, MOVE CHAINS"¦SCORE MORE POINTS!"
Parking close the stadium is mostly reserved for LTAC (Louisiana Tech Athletic Club) members, although additional parking nearby is a little costly. It costs fans $10 to park across the street at the Lady Techster softball field. Traffic is not too big of a problem before or after the game. The side streets get a little congested, but typical for the size of the crowd.
Students are given free admission into Joe Aillet Stadium with their student ID's, so the student section is mostly packed out for the majority of the games. Parking costs are somewhat reasonable, and the food is slightly overpriced for the quality you receive. Overall, the experience is well worth it, as long as Bulldog fans are satisfied with their squad on the field. A trip to Joe Aillet Stadium is a good investment.
The field looked fantastic, outfitted in turf a few years back, and the Jumbotron added a great deal to the game day experience. The team is still young in 2011 and going through some learning curves, but improvement is not far off. I was mostly impressed with the fans, who stood and cheered non-stop for the majority of the game.
Member Review by NorthLAdawg on Feb 15, 2013
Food & Beverage: Tailgating is great. Friendly folks with great food.Often hold themed tailgates and it's fun to see the creativity. Concessions in stadium suck! Hot pepsi and little variety. Hit up the tailgating pre-game
Atmosphere: Hi-Def video board in North endzone adds to the atmosphere. Student participation is growing. Although sell-outs are hard to come by in rural north LA, the atmosphere is good. Definite home field advantage.
Neighborhood: Parking is widely available and free; no concerns with safety. Stadium situated half-mile south of I-20.
Fans: Rabid Dawg fans make the games fun
Access: Situated just of I-20. Easy walking from every direction
Return on Investment: Tickets are very affordable and games are very entertaining. The Nations top scoring offense last year.
Extras: Stadium exterior could use some renovations; plans in the works for a new South Endzone facility. Check out the display room in the fieldhouse (South endzone).
Super Bowl ring collection and Hall of Fame Best of Terry Bradshaw. History of Bulldog greats. Displays of Hall Famers Bradshaw, Fred Dean, and Willie Roaf.
102 N Homer St
Ruston, LA 71270
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