Remember when LSU tailgating was simple? Let’s go back there | Entertainment/Life

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I’ve always been an LSU football fan while my husband favored the Green Wave.

We had a private bet on which of the two would claim the “rag” — the name for the silk flag the winner took to their home campus.

Flash back to the late ’60s into the ’80s when we — along with several of our children — would travel to Baton Rouge from Donaldsonville to attend LSU home games. We’d pack a picnic lunch, then get into our station wagon and drive to campus.

Parking wasn’t problematic at that point; we’d simply pull into the lot, put the tailgate down, spread a blanket, then enjoy a picnic lunch before walking to the stadium.

Flash forward to today and the LSU campus during football season. One must pay for a convenient parking place — either for car or RV.

A member of our family has an RV as well as a coveted parking place on the RV lot. Before leaving the house, he loads the RV with a tent, tables, chairs, ice chests, cooking setups and a planned menu. Shopping has been done for ingredients for either gumbo for the night before the game and jambalaya, barbecue or gumbo for game day. There would also be breakfast foods for the morning after the game. Friends and complete strangers are welcomed to either the meal before the game, the after-the-game celebrations or breakfast the next morning.

One season when my brother John was visiting, he and I were invited to join our relatives on the tailgating lot. John had not been to an LSU game since he was a student in the ’60s. On the way to campus, I described what he could expect to see as a “circus” and not at all like he remembered.

“Can’t be that different, Sis”, was his reply. His view changed as we walked into the vast RV lot.

“How are we going to find them?,” he asked. We had their lot number and had been given the advice to look for their neighbors’ flagpole that could be seen from blocks away.

John was amazed at the atmosphere — RVs, tents, barbecue pits, the smells of food, loud music and people riding on go-carts to get from one end of the lot to the next in search of friends.

“This is insane,” he remarked, “and has certainly escalated exponentially from tailgating of the past.”

LSU tailgaters of today love the escalation of the activity no matter the cost. As for myself, I have fond memories of the tailgating of yesteryear and would journey back to those simpler times any day.

That is, unless, the rivalry between LSU and Tulane and the exchange of the “rag” returns. Only then would I consider joining in the revelry of today.

Maybe not! My family and I enjoy watching LSU football games on TV in the comfort of home while reminiscing about the simpler times of yesteryear tailgating on campus.

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