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Who is in the Tailgate Tent Nextdoor?

Haven’t you ever wondered about some of the people under the tent next door to you?  How did they meet?  What do they do outside of LSU Football?  Here are a couple you might see:

Krewe de Tailgate

Krewe de Tailgate at the Indian MoundsOne of the original Krewe members, Joe Tyler of Baton Rouge, estimates they have been tailgating at the Indian Mounds since 1997. This group started as friends who met as long ago as high school to a few months ago.  Every one is welcome – even ex girlfriends have been known to still visit this tailgate.

Krewe 2012

Their theme is “It is always Mardi Gras at the Indian Mounds.”  That is because outside of football season this group rides in the Southdowns’ Mardi Gras parade.

Their float takes the Southdowns’ theme each year and relates it to LSU football.  Make sure to yell “Throw me something mister” as they roll by next year!  They are sure to load you full of beads.

Krewe 2013

Sigma Nu Alumni

Near the Hill Memorial Library and the Indian Mounds a group of alumni celebrates LSU football.

Sigma Nu group

I was invited to meet this group this summer by a friend, Dave Baron.  When I walked up I saw familiar faces from my earlier blog post on the band, the Bahlinger’s.  When asked how long they have tailgated together, no one quite knows.  They have had this spot since the late 90′s, but tailgated at the field grounds for many years before that.  Many group members met as brothers in Sigma Nu in the 70′s. 

This group is still having fun.  The tables were spread with food and beverages.  The coolers were full; ever wondered what happens to beer cans that are damaged but not busted before leaving the distributor?  You can find them here.  It is a tough job, but someone has to drink them.

Tailgate table

Do you have a tailgate I should visit?  Let me know where you are! 


I had the chance to go to a Bengal Belles Luncheon the Thursday before the home opener.  Before the lunch, there is a shopping section open to the public.  There was lots of vendors selling purple and gold fashion.  But, two artists caught my eye.

Laura Welch Taylor
Laura is a local artist who paints everything from pup portraits to crawfish collections for your kitchen.  She showcases her work on Instagram.  Here are a few of her LSU themed pieces. You can find more at her website.

All set up and ready to geaux! #bengalbelles #shoplocal #laurawtaylorart

There's a whole lot of purple and gold in here... #bengalbelles #laurawtaylorart

Gearing up for tomorrow's Bengal Belle's Market! #laurawtaylorart

Stacey Uffman Blanchard
Stacey is the artist behind the famous Fleur de Tigre’.  She is a fantastic photographer as well that focuses on Baton Rouge landmarks. Below is some of her work.  You can find more at the Lagniappe Frame Shoppe website.

Tiger Eye on Wood Planks

Tiger Eye on Wood Planks

Hand Painted Tiger Eye Cross

Hand Painted Tiger Eye Cross

Mike at LSU

Mike at LSU

50th Anniversary of Tailgating

Are you tailgating for something special?

One of the reasons I wanted to do this blog is to help to let everyone know about special tailgates.  The one’s with the special vehicles, special decorations and the people who have tailgated together for decades.  Know a tailgate like that?   I look forward to helping spread the Tiger Cheer or to celebrate a special event. I attended two tailgates this weekend.

College of 20140906_145508-EFFECTSArt and Design – Meet the Dean Tailgate

I earned my Bachelor of Interior Design a little while ago.  This weekend the school had a tailgate for alumni in the Robert Reich Courtyard of the design building.  Alumni from every program gathered to meet the dean and see fellow alumni.

20140906_143535Recent projects from the students were on display.

Food Table

Jambalaya and desert trays were on the menu.  The best part was seeing people I worked with when I worked in the interior design field and people I taught as a faculty member.  If your school holds a tailgate; don’t miss it.

Love Purple and Live Gold – or Celebrate a Golden Anniversary of Tailgating!

An email I got toward the end of this summer invited me to come help celebrate a 50th Anniversary.  Not a wedding anniversary, one for a true LSUSuperfan,  Ms. Viola Hymel.

Family celebrating 50 years of Tiger Football

Left to right: Shannon LeBlanc, Hannah Dooley, Viola Hymel, Richard Hymel

This is Viola’s 50th year of Tiger Football.  She was “tickled purple” when I showed up and told her I was covering her event for our blog.  Her daughter in law, Shannon LeBlanc, had a cake decorated especially for the tailgate. Viola with her cake Her excitement for the first game of the season was infectious.  She was fussing because the parking lot was relatively empty when we began our tailgate celebration.

When she originally started tailgating for football, the parking lot by the south end zone was free and it was easy to come on Friday night and park your RV to start the weekend early.  She and her husband packed up the family and went to games both in Baton Rouge and most other SEC games. 

Viola with son Richard

 Her son Richard remembers tailgating on the other side of the parking lot pointing to a tree where many of his teenage weekends were spent.  Their family friends all thought they were crazy to go watch all of those bad football games.  There were about seven very lean years when no one else was tailgating like they do now.  She says she told them the same things she tells people now she will be at games win or lose but  ”I am going to be in my seat when they do win!”  

She left for the game in plenty of time to see the band do Pre-Game because “When the band strikes up there is no other better feeling.”

Her favorite memories include:

If you go by spot #592 of lot #401 (right by the new South Endzone), make sure you find Ms. Viola and wish her a happy 50th and a Geaux Tigers!

Don’t forget to send me a tweet to tell me what your special tailgate is!

Ladies of Tiger Tailgating: Sam Houston State Edition

I like to think I know a lot about football.  Maybe I don’t remember the total rushing yards, sacks or interceptions in the game, but I can give you basics.  I thought I’d test the knowledge of a few ladies tailgating for the LSU vs. Sam Houston State game this past Saturday.  I was pleasantly surprised by some….it was a little tougher for others.

Intro Slide

Bengal Belles = Fans, Football, and Fashion!

Bengal Belles Room ShotAnyone who thinks “Women don’t like football” has never met a Bengal Belle! This week the LSU Booster club for women had their first Baton Rouge luncheon to get the home schedule started off with as much excitement as possible.  The River Center was filled with excited LSUSuperfans.

Aimee Simone and Diane McGowan

Aimée Simone with Board member Diane McGowan prepping for the luncheon.

The group was founded 19 years ago when Terry DiNardo approached founder Aimée Simon with the idea; at that time it was hoped they could sustain 30-50 members.  Over 600 belles and beaus cheered the players and Coach Miles who were able to attend the lunch this week. They have raised over $1,000,000 for the Academic Center for Student Athletes.  Their mission is to support the student athletes in their academic efforts in addition to cheering them on the field.

 Greeting them with a smile!

Norman Deumite with Belle

Norman with Machita Eyre greet every Belle at the door

Norman Deumite helped the ladies found the group and has greeted the Belles at luncheons for 16 years now.   Norman says “This group is more like a family than any club.” He loves seeing people you haven’t seen all summer and catching up with everyone.

Carol Barish and Bonnie Russ

Best friends since they were 19, Carol Barish (L) got first year member Bonnie Rush(R) to volunteer immediately.

Registration Table

Registration Table

What is your favorite part of a Bengal Belles Lunch?

Kathy Miles and Missy Cameron

Coaches wives Kathy Miles and Missy Cameron

Everyone has a favorite part of a Bengal Belles lunch.  The First Lady of LSU football, Kathy Miles, says her favorite part is when the players get the crowd fired up and “When they imitate the coaches!” Three players came to the lunch and were asked to imitate Coach Miles telling them to “Take the Field”, a few of them got the coach well.

Gordy Rush, a former student athlete himself, serves as emcee every year and enjoys getting the chance to give back to the university. He is the one who comes up with player questions, gets them dancing or imitating the coaches.  He told me players come find him and tell him “That was fun; I want to go back!”.  He wants the players to have a fun experience and an opportunity not to focus so much on questions about the game.  This week’s question for the players “What is the most romantic thing you have ever done before today?”  Freshman Jamal Adams won a tin of fresh baked cookies after demonstrating his “Love Dance.” (Yes, I wish I had the video too!)


Before and after a Bengal Belle Luncheon there are vendor booths set up with the latest gear every well dressed LSU fan could want.  In the name of good reporting I had to go shop every booth and ask “What is your ‘go-to’ item for this season?”  (I know it is hard work!) Here is what I found from some of the vendors (click on their names to go to their Facebook pages):

Keys to LSU Football Fashion

  • Lightweight
  • Sparkle
  • Comfortable
Brooklyn’s Boutique: A lightweight and comfy dressBrooklynns Boutique The Silver Sun: Purple and Gold Tailgating Jewelry

 Poise N Ivy: Tigers with Gold SparklePoise N Ivy
 Glass Slipper: Purple and LaceGlass Slipper Purple and Lace  Haute Dames: The Tigertini Hat!Haute Dames Tigertini Hat  Tiger People: Feminine SparkleTiger People
 Gumbeaux Group: Can’t forget the guys Camo.Gumbeaux Group camo shirt  Schofgirl: Tiger bead and silver bracelet was a big hitSchofgirl bracelet  Studio Too: Lightweight Tiger T-shirt on displayStudio Too Tee

Follow the Bengal Belles on their Facebook:

Their website is at this link:


Big Easy Tailgatin’ Spends A Labor Day of Love

pressure washing sm

Brad Zimmerman and Steve Penouilh spend Labor Day 2014 training for a key part of the LSU football season: tailgating.

While many of us were relaxing during the Labor Day holiday earlier this week, some die-hard tailgaters were laboring with love in anticipation of LSU’s season home opener this Saturday.

BET captains in training sm

Brad Zimmerman, Cooper Parfait, Jordan Parfait, Chandler (ChanMan) Zimmerman, Steve Penouilh, and Eddie Parfait take their fun seriously, training Big Easy Tailgatin’ captains at a young age.

What began as a group of college friends from the New Orleans area tailgating inside an apartment within walking distance of Tiger Stadium literally graduated in 2002 to a beautiful, grassy, shady area off Highland Road near LSU’s Ag Center.

On Labor Day, this group of tailgaters’ work included emptying, cleaning, sweeping,  and pressure-washing the trailer, and inventorying supplies, including cables, wires, electronics, satellite dish, tables, chairs, seasoning for food, cooking utensils, eating utensils, cast iron pot, burner, barbecue pit, tents, tables, and more.

off season BET gathering sm

Big Easy Tailgaters gather as often as possible in the off season. Pictured (left to right): Back row: Steve Penouilh, Noah Penouilh, Kristi Penouilh, Eddie Parfait, Jen Parfait, Kelly Zimmerman, Brad Zimmerman, Asheley Brechtel, Brad Brechtel, Bryce Brechtel. Bottom Row: Jordan Parfait, Chandler Parfait, Juliette Zimmerman, Cooper Parfait, Reece Brechtel, Sarah Brechtel

(You know, a little more effort than my holiday agenda of sleeping in and cooking out.)

But, as Steve Penouilh says with pride, “This tailgate is our home away from home during football season.  I know we join 100,000 other Tiger fans giving the same amount of love and attention to the prep. And come game day, it will all be worth it.”


The Big Easy Tailgatin’ (BET) crew has seen a few changes over the years, including marriages, children, Baton Rouge-area addresses, and shifts in their iPod selections.

BET on the road

Kelly Zimmerman and Jen Parfait join the Big Easy Tailgatin’ crew in taking a slimmed down version of their typical home game show on the road for at least one away game each season.

“Other than that, though, things are really the same. Our children and extended families all enjoy tailgating as much as we do,” Kelly Zimmerman, an original BETer, laughs. “In fact, we fully expect that when we are old and retired, our little ones will take over the reigns.”

the inventory sm

Brad Zimmerman, Eddie Parfait and Steve Penouilh survey a hard day’s work of cleaned, freshly inventoried Big Easy Tailgatin’ supplies.

“This Friday night, after the grocery run and after we prep all of the food, the boys will try to go to bed to get a good night’s sleep but I promise you that they will all be too excited to sleep,” Kelly anticipates with a smile. “I’m pretty proud of these guys and the amount of work and effort that goes into their love of the game and the joy they see when our families and guests gather all for a common purpose.”

As a 2007 transplant to Baton Rouge, I always enjoy a tailgate, but I’ll certainly appreciate them with a new perspective this season. These spots I’m visiting are more than just a group of friends who are passing  a good time while cheering on the Tigers.

Tailgates are clearly a labor of love.

the set up-cropped

Big Easy Tailgatin’ …Do Whatcha Wanna



Home Games: Ready or Not, Here They Come.


Overheard at the Veron Smoked Boudin booth: “Now that’s tailgating right there.”

“Am I ready for football season? Of course I’m ready for football season! I’ve eagerly anticipated this week for eight months, and it’s finally here!”

If you had asked, that’s exactly what I would have told you before Taste of Tiger Tailgating a few weeks ago. After the event, however, my tune changed drastically.

I groaned. I moaned. I actually considered not eating or moving for 48 hours.

When the event was first described to me, I thought, “Great! We can sample restaurants’ wares, get a feel for the start of football season…it’ll be fun!”


Calandro’s spread included grape leaves, hummus and an assortment of dips. YUM.

And it was fun. But in true Tiger fashion, it was a lot.

As I walked to my car later that night, promising myself only bland foods for the rest of my life, I realized this wasn’t just a taste as in tasting-vendors’-food, it was a taste to help prepare us all for this tailgating marathon we’ll undergo when home games start back up, which happens, incidentally, THIS SATURDAY.

With that in mind,
I’ll be keeping these pointers in my back pocket as I get ready to go through LSU’s gates this weekend:

  • The Taste of Tiger event was air conditioned. The LSU campus is not.  Dress accordingly.
  • You are invited to tailgates with delicious food. You are not used to eating rich food  Pace yourself.
  • That first bullet? Read it again, get over the port-a-potty ordeal, and drink some water, for the love of Pete. 
  • You will be tired after the day. This doesn’t mean you’re elderly (hush) or you’re weak (HUSH). This means you were outside It’s all right. Rest up. You have a life to live after Saturday, and then you do this again next Saturday.
  • You are a Tiger fan, by birth, degree or association. What you’re doing today and what you will do nearly every weekend until Thanksgiving will be a lot. Brace yourself.
    But keep in mind…


    Signs and t-shirts and slogans like this will be everywhere Saturday. Pace yourself anyway. Trust me.

  • This time of year does not come altogether too often. You miss it when it’s not here. Savor every second.

Ready or not, here come the home games.

Prepare yourselves and have a blast!


Sunday Social: In Opening Game #LSU Twitter Cycles from Grief to Rapturous Joy

#LSU Twitter is the best. I’ve already explained this in great detail. It all starts in the days and hours before the game, when life is happy and things are wonderful. Such was the case for LSU’s match up again the University of Wisconsin Badgers. (As an aside, how is your mascot a badger?)

(PS — You can click on the photo/tweet to have it open up in a larger size.)



And then the game starts and, well, saying that we’ve played better football than we did in the first three quarters of Saturday’s game would be an understatement. Expectations dashed, we had all of the sad-based emotions:



For levity, LSU aired a new commercial, which distracted distraught #LSU twitter briefly.


Oh and some people, by the way, did not freak out about LSU’s performance, because they have more faith in @LSUJesus (and @LSUCoachMiles) than some of us (ME) do.


And suddenly it was ON (but not after a delay of game penalty on the KICKOFF because of course #LSU gets a delay of game penalty on the kickoff. There was a fake punt, interceptions, Kenny Hilliard being Kenny Hilliard in the best way possible. And of course we won, because we were always going to win.


nine eleven

Once it was over, we could reflect on what Crazy Uncle Lester pulled of and how we could have ever doubted that LSU would win and how much we love-hate our coach.



People tried to explain how all of this happened, but it sort of defies explanation.


Dupre didn’t travel to the game because of an injury, be he weighed in on twitter.


Sage advice from a former player.


The following morning was a time of reflection for us all.


Thanks for being emotive, comforting and hilarious #LSU Twitter faithful. Tweet at us using #LSUSuperFan or check out our list of accounts to follow.

What makes an LSUSuperfan?

It’s here!  Gameday is finally here.  I felt like it was Christmas this morning; it is the day I have been waiting for since January. How about you?

I have been asking people “What is an LSU Superfan?” Most respond “That is a good question”, but after thinking about it, many give a good answer.  Here are a few quotes:

“Dedication” – Jermar Mason

“Waiting in line for two hours to get the coaches’ autograph for your kids” Tracey Richard

“Not being a fair weather fan!  Supporting the team no matter the coach or regardless of record.”  Matt Martin

“Doesn’t miss a came or activity.  Going out of your way to be a part of any crowd” – Don Linton

“Going to at least ONE game a year [no matter how far you have to travel]” –  Connor Pittman (Lake Charles)

Mike the Tiger

I think the true LSUSuperfans would have been tailgating all day in the rain we had this afternoon if it were a home game.  NRG Stadium will be filled with LSUSuperfans tonight!

So what do you think?  How would you answer my question?

What makes an LSUSuperfan?  Post your comments and let’s all  cheer the Tigers!