Attending a game at LSU's Tiger Stadium is an experience you will never forget. It is like attending Mardi Gras, a Voodoo Ceremony, and a college football game all in the same day! They call Tiger Stadium "Death Valley" which was originally "Deaf Valley" due to the tremendous noise generated by LSU fans during games there and that name fits perfectly.
How would I describe LSU fans? LSU fans are the only fan base to have ever been officially recorded on the Richter Scale. That's right, in 1988 LSU fans erupted after a big play against Auburn that actually moved the needles at LSU's Geology Department!
LSU is located in Baton Rouge just west of New Orleans between I-10 and the Mississippi River. Actually I would almost have to call Louisiana State University a suburb of Baton Rouge due to the fact that it is on the outskirts of the city of Baton Rouge. If you are planning to attend a game at Tiger Stadium and are thinking that LSU is located in a urban setting you would be completely mistaken. Instead you will drive through one of the nicest areas of town that is filled with beautiful homes and serene lakes that gradually melts into the LSU sprawling campus.
LSU fans approach college football the same way they approach life, and that is by going all in! So if you are planning to attend an LSU game at Tiger Stadium, then you had better tighten your chin strap and brace yourself for one hell of a ride!
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Louisiana and food just go together, and so does great food and attending a game at Tiger Stadium. I should probably award two different grades for food and beverage for Tiger Stadium; one for the food inside the stadium and one for the food available outside Tiger Stadium. The food inside deserves a solid 3 stars, but the food available outside the stadium deserves a 5, that being the case I decided to split the difference and award 4 stars. Outside the stadium is where you will find anything from Jambalaya to Gumbo while inside there is everything from a hotdog, or hamburger to a Cajun Sausage Po Boy.
Prices were just as we have come to expect in an SEC venue with hot dogs priced at $3.50, burgers at $5 and the Po Boy priced at $6. Drinks started at $4.50 and up. Outside the stadium prices also were reasonable, but the selection was almost unlimited.
None better, that is what the atmosphere is like at Tiger Stadium, there is none better. They don't call it Death Valley for nothing. The minute you step out of your car you know that this is their turf and you are welcome as long as you remember that you are just a guest in their house. As we walked through the campus we passed one tailgate area after another and the smells of the food that was being prepared almost made want to stop and beg for a taste.
The crowd grew and grew as we approached Death Valley and so did the excitement. Tiger Stadium was completely enveloped with gazebo tents, motorhomes, food vendors and concession stands of all types.
The word "electric" comes to mind and so does the word, "party"! There was one big party going on and it was only noon! I have always heard about attending a night game at Tiger Stadium, so I can only imagine what this place must be like at night considering how much fun these fans were having in the middle of the day? A night game at Tiger Stadium is so important that nightfall is officially announced in Tiger Stadium as the sun begins to set. You will have to excuse me for not knowing more about this ritual, but there is some kind of chant that the LSU fans use to welcome nightfall that was downright spooky!
LSU's Tiger Stadium definitely has great atmosphere and attending a game at Tiger Stadium is definitely different, and is also definitely a hell of a lot of fun!
The neighborhood around Tiger Stadium is the LSU campus. To the south and west of Tiger Stadium is mostly wide open spaces. To the north and east is an upscale neighborhood and the university itself.
About a half mile to the northeast of Tiger Stadium is an area called the University Shopping district where you can enjoy a nice meal or have a drink with your fellow football fans. One of the more popular spots is a place called, "The Chimes". The Chimes serves seafood and of course a nice selection of Cajun dishes as well. Near the Chimes was another popular place called Serrano's Salsa Company that serves Mexican food and a pretty mean Margarita.
There are also several other college campus favorites like Chinese food, pizza parlors and coffee houses along with a Wendy's and a Jack in the Box.
For those of you wanting to stay close to the action, there are plenty of good eats right at the stadium where you can find almost anything in the way of Cajun food to Po Boy sandwiches. There were more food and drink vendors around Tiger Stadium than all the other SEC stadiums combined, so if you don't mind standing while you eat, then I am sure you will find something you will enjoy.
These fans are crazy about college football and their football team! They arrive very early and they stay very, very late if they win. This is not just a game to them, it is as much of a part of their lives as the Mississippi River and the swamps of southern Louisiana. These proud fans live and die with each win or loss and with every lead change in a closely contested game. They can be very friendly especially before the game, but some of them can also be very hard on opposing fans after the game.
A visitor to LSU's Tiger Stadium had better have thick skin, because these fans are proud of their team and they will let you know how proud they are before, during, and after the game.
As a visitor you will hear shouts of LSU, LSU, LSU and "Tiger Bait" from the time you arrive in Baton Rouge until the time that you are safely back in your car.
All joking aside, it is hard not to love and respect their unbridled love for their Tigers and their enthusiasm for college football.
What can I say, same old story, different town. It would seem that there is no college campus in the nation that is really prepared to host 90,000 football fans on a given Saturday. Getting into Baton Rouge was a breeze. Getting from the Interstate to the stadium was a nightmare. Bumper to bumper traffic with little or no signage directing visitors where to go or where to park. Parking was mostly free, but finding a spot was a crapshoot for someone who didn't know the ropes.
We approached Baton Rouge and LSU from the east, so naturally we ended up on the east side of the stadium where the upscale neighborhood was located. There were a few public lots that appeared to have been full for quite a while, after that there were cars parked all along the roadside. Much of the roadside was posted with no parking signs and lined with tape to prevent people from parking in homeowners' yards.
We finally found a spot on campus about a mile from the stadium, but it took all my driving skills to squeeze into the spot. Once we arrived at the stadium I could see that the west side of the stadium was where all the parking lots were located. To the west and south of the stadium was a sea of parked cars in the open area away from LSU's campus and the upscale neighborhood that was located to the north and east.
After the game was even worse, at one point we moved two blocks in 30 minutes. It took us well over an hour to travel less than five miles back to the interstate and once we were back on the interstate we were still in bumper to bumper traffic for several more miles. It is the same story almost every where you go in the SEC; no parking, no signs and no progress.
As an alternative, some fans chose to use the shuttle bus system to avoid the hassle of traffic and parking. LSU has a helpful website designed to make attending a game at Tiger Stadium a little easier.
Tiger Stadium does have one thing that made access so much easier; an escalator that takes you to the upper deck. This is something that I haven't seen anywhere else in the SEC and something that every stadium should have! I added a full point to Tiger Stadium's access score for this innovative idea alone.
Well, I have to admit, we paid more for our tickets to see a game in Tiger Stadium than any other tickets we have purchased this year. These are not the most expensive tickets I have ever bought for a regular season game, but at $200 per seat they were close. Keep in mind that this game was between two top 10 teams and tickets were very scarce leading up to this game. As I always say, tickets to SEC games do not come cheap, but the action and spectacle of SEC football is well worth the price of admission to an avid fan like myself. If you love college football and the color and pageantry of college sports you can't go wrong attending an LSU game at Tiger Stadium!
Parking was free, so that made the price for tickets a little easier to swallow because I have paid up to $30 at other SEC venues in the past.
Even though tickets were expensive I left Baton Rouge feeling as though I had experienced something special, and that made the return on my investment money well spent.
Where do I start? I have attended college football games from coast to coast and attending a game at LSU's Tiger Stadium ranks right at the top. I just love the way LSU fans approach supporting their team. It is an interesting mixture of having some fun, while at the same time being right in your face about it! LSU fans are warm and friendly while at the same time being very territorial. They welcome you to LSU and then when the game is over they tell you to have a safe trip while smiling a smile that tells you they are not really being sincere. They love their Tigers and I know of no other fan base that enjoys college football more. It is college football with a Cajun twist and that makes attending a game at LSU's Tiger Stadium very special.
After the game I would highly suggest staying in Baton Rouge and enjoying a little Cajun style hospitality. It would certainly be a shame to visit LSU's Tiger Stadium and Baton Rouge without sampling a little of the Cajun lifestyle as well as a little Creole food.
As they say in Louisiana, "Aaaaaaa EEE eeeee," let the good times roll!
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