Strawberry Stadium has been the beneficiary of significant upgrades in recent years, and has become a new classic in FCS football stadiums. Originally constructed in 1937, recent upgrades include a new press box, suites, field lighting, turf, adjacent parking garage, and club seating. However, the historic feel of a stadium built in the first half of the 20th century still remains. You might say all that’s missing from the Strawberry Stadium atmosphere is a team that fans can get excited about. After an 18 year exodus, however, many in the region are just happy that football has returned to the Louisiana Northshore.
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Strawberry Stadium presents you with an average selection of concession options. Those options range from hot dogs ($3), hamburgers ($4), and nachos ($3). Other options include popcorn ($2), peanuts ($2), candy ($1), and pickles ($1).
Your drink options are sodas (Coke products and Dr. Pepper; $3), bottled water ($3), and Powerade ($3).
Make sure you have enough cash handy ahead of time because Strawberry Stadium is a cash-only facility once inside the stadium. A couple of specialty booths are available inside the stadium including Voodoo BBQ, Wise Guys Daiquiris, and Pizza Hut.
A bonus is that Strawberry Stadium sells alcohol inside the stadium and you'll need to stop by a booth to pick up a bracelet which allows you to purchase. Maybe the most unique item of all is the ability to purchase Daiquiris from the Wise Guys booth in the north endzone. I'm not sure if any other college venue in the country offers this item.
The concession prices are pretty fair overall. I recommend that you visit the VooDoo BBQ tent for some BBQ and grab a daiquiri from the Wise Guys booth.
Strawberry Stadium is located on the southwest corner of the Southeastern Louisiana University campus. This puts the stadium between the edge of the campus and nearby the residential community. Campus buildings and pine trees dominate the landscape.
Strawberry Stadium features single-tiered east and west grandstands that stretch from about the five yard lines with open endzones and a fairly large (for the Southland Conference) pressbox and suite facility on top of the western grandstand. At the top of the west grandstands, on both sides of the pressbox are two party decks which are available by reservation.
In the south endzone lays the Dugas Athletics Center building and the north endzone has a few small portable bleachers for student groups. Just behind the bleachers in the north endzone is the largest kid friendly area I've seen inside a venue of this size (and of many larger sizes). There are approximately five different inflatable fun areas including a slide and jousting set.
You'll find a small concession facility on the northeast corner with a Pizza Hut booth adjacent to it. The Wise Guys Daiquiris booth is located in the north endzone. Two full-service concession facilities are available in the west side concourse beneath the stadium including the VooDoo BBQ booth.
Restrooms are accessible in both the east and west grandstands. Do keep in mind, however, that the restroom facilities for men on the west side are open stall only inside the stadium, but just across the concourse, the facilities in the parking garage have closed stalls. The field surface at Strawberry Stadium is synthetic UBU-Speed Series-S5-M turf which was secured from Mercedes-Benz Superdome after one year of play by the New Orleans Saints, Tulane Green Wave, and the Sugar Bowl. Strawberry Stadium has a listed capacity of 7,408.
If you're a visiting fan, you'll find plenty of space and fellow fans on the southeast side of the stadium. The student section is usually pretty thin and is located on the northeast side from the end of the grandstand until about the 30 yard line. This is also where you'll find the Spirit of the Southland marching band.
In addition to the band, other spirit groups are on field including cheerleaders, the Lionettes dance team, and Roomie the Lion mascot. If you are rooting for the Lions or have no allegiance, your best seats will be located around the 50 yard line on the west side.
You can also score fairly cheap general admission tickets on the northwest and southwest corners of the west side grandstand. There really isn't a bad seat in the house.
A unique aspect of Strawberry Stadium is that you are literally right on top of the action with only about five yards of sidelines separating the east and west grandstands from the field.
A fun side-note, expect the PA guy to ensure that every syllable is phonetically accurate. Though he's clear and professional, you might get confused while he speaks and think you've accidently made your way into an English class instead of a football game.
Hammond, Louisiana is your typical small college town. There are enough options in the area to satisfy a short stay, but rest easy knowing that New Orleans is only about a 45 minute drive south. As one of the top tourist stops in the world, New Orleans and Bourbon Street are definitely worth a visit if you have an extended stay.
However, if you're spending your time in the Hammond area, be sure to stop by Mariner's Inn to order the Kickin' Chicken sandwich. Other recommended options include Brady's Restaurant (order the club sandwich) and Tommy's on Thomas (try the buffalo breadsticks).
When it comes to attractions, Hammond doesn't have much to offer, however you'll find some decent college town bar options in the historic downtown area. If you're traveling with the family, about 20 minutes from Hammond is the Global Wildlife Center. This is a pretty neat open space attraction where you can ride throughout the massive fields feeding wildlife like gazelle and giraffes directly from the touring caravan.
About five minutes from Hammond you'll find the small city of Ponchatoula which is known for antique shopping and a spring Strawberry Festival. I recommend staying at the relatively newly constructed Best Western University Inn just a couple of miles from campus.
Though more likely a reflection of the struggles the Lions have faced on the football field since returning to action in 2007, the fanbase is pretty sparse and anything but energetic during the game. If the Lions are playing at the same time as the state university in Baton Rouge, don't expect to see more than 3,000-4,000 in the stands unless the Lions are on a serious winning streak. Though there was tremendous excitement during the season Lion football returned to Strawberry Stadium, that excitement has slowly eroded year by year as the losses piled up.
Many in the area would tell you that a strong fanbase is just a winning season away, and that's not hard to believe. The Northshore area is home to some rabid college football fans that are used to seeing a strong state university team compete for championships on a national scale. Many in the area aren't as excited about a sub .500 Lions squad when they could easily stay home and watch major college football on television or travel 45 minutes west to experience some of the better tailgating in the country outside Tiger Stadium. If the Lions ever put a playoff caliber season together, this score could easily improve.
Strawberry Stadium is about as accessible as any stadium in the country with Hammond, Louisiana located at the crossroads of I-55 and I-12. If you're flying in, you'll likely do so via New Orleans. Just about a 45 minute drive up I-55 from the Big Easy will put you on the Southeastern Louisiana campus.
There is plenty of free and nearby parking available on campus. Steer away from "Friendship Circle" which is the major road cutting through the campus just north of the stadium. Parking here is reserved and most of the area will be cluttered with tailgating. After you've parked, however, this will be the area you want to hang out and partake in the tailgating prior to kickoff.
One area where Southeastern could really improve is access inside the gates. I definitely recommend getting inside the stadium at least 45 minutes prior to kickoff if the game will be well attended. You'll find entrance gates on the northwest and southeast that will have lines, but not nearly as long as the entrance on the northeast side. Don't be surprised if you're stuck in a line that's over 100 yards long if you try to enter on the northeast side within 15 minutes of kickoff.
On multiple occasions I've witnessed this line stretch over the west side and frustrate fans missing some of the first quarter as the line slowly moves forward. The major walkways on both grandstands are at the bottom of the seating area. These walkways are pretty tight, especially on the east side. The concourse under the stadium on the west side is spacious. Aisles in the stadium seating areas give you enough room to get up and down easily.
Restrooms are clean but you may run into a line on the east side due to the facility being a bit small, however, the east side is usually the least populated so it may not be an issue if the facility isn't near capacity.
Tickets for the 2012 season range from $15 for general admission to $25 for chairback reserved on the west side. As mentioned, there's plenty of accessible free parking around the stadium and concessions are fairly priced. It's also unlikely you will visit a stadium that's this close to the on-field action. With that said, expect a pretty nice value per dollar spent.
You just can't beat how close you'll be to the field at Strawberry Stadium. Few venues across the nation get you this close to the action.
The close proximity to New Orleans is definitely a plus. Bourbon Street and the French Quarter are less than an hour south of the campus.
The tailgating in Friendship Circle, especially when the Lions are winning, is a pretty fun experience. If it's not a marquee match-up or the Lions are below .500, don't expect much of a crowd. But during Homecoming, you'll definitely enjoy your time.
So is it worth it? If you're not a die-hard Lions fan, you'll want to catch the rivalry game with Nicholls State or McNeese State. I also recommend circling homecoming on your calendar if you are looking for the best atmosphere Strawberry Stadium has to offer. If you're simply a stadium enthusiast, Strawberry Stadium isn't likely to make your bucket list. If you're an area college football fan or your team is traveling to Hammond, combining a Southeastern Lions football game with a weekend in New Orleans certainly isn't a bad idea.
The fans are very respectful, the only problem is there isn't much of them. As soon as the Lions obtain one winning season I believe the whole program is going to going to skyrocket.
117 W Thomas St
Hammond, LA 70401
110 SW Railroad Ave
Hammond, LA 70401
13 N Cypress St
Hammond, LA 70401
46053 N Puma Dr
Hammond, LA 70401