Sunday, January 18, 2015

Baton Rouge, Louisiana: Day 2 - First time at a LSU Tailgate & Tiger Stadium

Travel Date: Saturday, Nov 8 2014

Got up early for game day. Jeremy is busy making pancakes, but what I am really excited about is trying it with Steen's 100% pure cane syrup


The flavor is quite distinct, unique, and yes tasty. It reminded me of the time when I went to Vermont and tried real maple sugar. The tastes are quite different and I am quite grateful to officially say that I have tried pancakes with real cane syrup - only in Louisiana :-)


 Jeremy takes a time out and plays with Jax.


And when his jam comes on the radio... he busts out the moves.


I have never ever ever been to an LSU game, and I have always wanted to go as a passionate LSU fan. When I told Jeremy about this he mentioned that he gave away his season tickets to auction off for charity - but he could get some more.

And he did. I am quite grateful he did. This could me a once in a lifetime experience, and we are playing our current nemesis Alabama at home. First time in Tiger Stadium aka Death Valley and a BIG BIG game - and I get to man-hate on Nick Saban and perhaps shout at Les Miles' clock management.


After getting our tickets we go outside and are ready to leave to Baton Rouge and tailgate. Oh yeah, I've never tailgated at a LSU game either - so I'm ready for some serious tailgating.


Road trip!!



We are finally get nearer to Tiger Stadium and the traffic is growing.


And we find a car spot on prime real estate that we rent out for a discount. Why? because the guy renting it out turns out to be one of Jessica's ex-coworkers.


We begin the walk to our tailgating location.


Along the way we see a girl with that famous visual on TV.


We just had to get a picture with it.


Back to tailgating.


I meet some of Jeremy's friends, and cousins. Somehow or the other everyone I meet is related to Jeremy or his extended family.


However one the guys I meet is BJ who is a Sigma Nu at Northwestern State University. I turns out that we actually met each other while I was in college at Nicholls State. He was in the basketball team while in college and his team played the Nicholls State Colonels at our home. Co-incidentally that was the day, that I with a few of my chapter brothers decided to go to the game and got front row seating with our Sigma Nu flag. He saw it and after the game came up to us and chatted with us. Cannot believe we reunite at a LSU tailgate. Who would have thunk?


Everyone is having a good time.



There is even a game of flip cup.


I love the bus and the digital messages.




Time to get some food to balance out the beverages.




And after a few drinks and some food we decide to walk around and see the other tailgates and meet friends and 'cousins' they know.


We get to the other tailgate... and it is INSANE. Quite the lively party.



We walk around the crowd.


Jeremy introduces me to this guy. I forgot his name but I'll just call him the Gumbo man.


Are you serving me?


Oh, yes please!! It was quite good. I was already stuffed but found a way to make room. All this good Louisiana cooking cannot go to waste.


We take a couple of group photos.



And then we decide to check out the party bus.



More group photos outside the party bus.



And the beverage & ice coffin. Dang, they have a coffin. This is truly Death Valley right?


Oh the flags...


And the pet Tigers.


We head back to our main tailgate and tend to the last minute items.


And now it is time to head to Tiger Stadium/Death Valley.


Lots of people.


Getting closer.


Selfies!


We decide to wait and watch the band. Good idea!


We watch them walk by, stop, perform, and then run into the stadium. Long video. The action begins around 2:15 minute mark.


After the band finishes, we get closer and closer to the stadium and now are literally under it tailgating with more of his friends and extended cousins/family. I am beginning to think that since he knows everyone they should just rename Tiger Stadium to LaCombe Stadium.


I meet Lauren who suggests that I try her pralines because they are delicious. At first I refuse, because everyone says their pralines are good and they tend to be, but good is not great. So I politely reply I'm feeling full so I'm good for now.


And then Jessica grabs one and soon as she bites into it, she begins to moan and genuinely compliment them profusely. I am intrigued, and I secretly grab one and as soon as I bite into it I can taste how good they are that I begin moaning too. I grab about 3 more and munch down. These are seriously THE BEST PRALINES I HAVE EATEN TO DATE!!


I give one to Jeremy and he is also smitten at the little piece of sweet heaven.


I meet two more of Jeremy and Jessica's friends: James and Kelly who are also well traveled and we bond over our travel stories. For their anniversary they always travel together across the country to a different state they haven't visited. What a great idea and way to see the country!!


It is now time to enter Tiger Stadium.


Walk through the gates.


And we find our seats. Amazing! Amazing! Amazing!


What a crowd. I feel welcomed to Death Valley!


Fireworks


I am so grateful for this moment.


A passionate Tiger audience. Just the way I like it!


It is game time!!


Our view of the field.


Group photo!


The game begins


I flash signs of LSU Tiger pride!


Half time show!


Can you tell I love panoramic shots?


This game is close!


Even Tim Tebow makes an appearance.


But in the end our defense fails us and we lose a very close game.


We drive back home very frustrated. I am sad, angry, disappointed. My first time at LSU and we lose. This is the first home loss in a long long time, and I'm beginning to wonder if I jinxed it by coming. People from Louisiana are very very superstitious about our games. It doesn't help that I also subscribe to that theory and to rub it in I have Jeremy reminding me of it on the drive back. 

Reflections:

Everything today was awesome. I am so grateful for the opportunity, experience and hospitality by the LaCombes over these past days and to take time, and get difficult to come by tickets for the game was just a treat. The tailgate was insane. I enjoyed meeting new people and reconnecting with BJ whom I met before. The food was amazing. The atmosphere during the game was ELECTRIC. Only the outcome of the game sucked and was very very very disappointing.

But as someone who tries to practice non-attachment... I know everything was great today. Not many people get to afford or experience this, and I am fortunate to be here and enjoy this moment with great friends.

Expenses:
Ticket: $250 (LSU vs Alabama)

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