Monday, January 7, 2008

Outside Tigers versus Buckeyes

Central Business District
January 7, 2008
New Orleans, La.

Dear Family and Friends,

The rain sent fans in silver and red, purple and gold running for cover two hours before the beginning of LSU's celebration night. 79,651 attended. A record, Superdome folks say.

For those who came to the game, but weren't inside, technology has made tailgating the best of both worlds. The electric feel of being there along side the convenience of coolers, chairs and television sets.

Tonight, RVs replaced Humvees in the Holiday Inn hotel parking lot.

The lot has housed in the the National Guard's vehicles, here to help the New Orleans Police department protect New Orleans. The National Guard is still here, of course, many of them Louisiana residents. The Humvees now occupy the southeastern corner of the lot.

"We grilled over 1,000 pounds of meat, and 1,000 pounds of crawfish," New Iberia, La. resident Lee LeBlanc says. LSU fans might be more knowledgeable about what happens outside the field than they do inside. And that's not a knock on the fans' collective football IQ.

"Here, have some duck wrapped in bacon," LeBlanc says. He and his father have rented 45 car spots at the Holiday Inn parking lot and brought in 10 MotorHomes, all equipped with TVs and lights.

The game, like last year, turned out bad for the BCS and good for the college football needs a playoff advocates. Tiger fans' celebration walk and the Buckeye's somber stroll both ended on Bourbon Street.

After watching the game from home, two friends and I decided to walk to Bourbon to see the spectacle. We saw a man, middle-aged with a big gash on his forehead. He'd fallen and looked confused as other fans and police attended to him. My friend's sister works at the municipal courthouse, she said they didn't have room in the parking lot for all the fans arrested for public intoxication last night.

By the end, when Monday had given way to Tuesday and long after my friends and I had returned home, the sun began to rise. LSU supporters who stayed out stumbled back to couches and beds, hotels and friend's apartments, leaving a night of excess for an afternoon headache.



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