The Syracuse Orange are visiting the LSU Tigers this weekend, and quite a few SU fans will be in attendance. In advance of the trip down to Baton Rouge, we wanted to get more insight on what to do there (and yes, we know many are just commuting back and forth from New Orleans).
So we asked Orange fan/TNIAAM lurker Stephen Lentz -- Syracuse College of Law '02 and resident of Baton Rouge -- to spill the details. The rest of this piece was penned by him.
For those of you planning to make the trek to South Louisiana this week, let me be the first to say Bienvenue à Baton Rouge! I certainly won’t be the last. My family relocated to Baton Rouge last summer from Northeastern Pennsylvania, and we’ve had this game circled on our calendars from the moment we moved. While spotting an Orangeman/woman in Baton Rouge is a little like encountering a humble Clemson fan, I whole heartedly believe that Louisianans are some of the friendliest and most hospitable people that I’ve ever known. They’ve made us feel right at home, and I have no doubt you’ll find similar experiences on your trip.
To that end, let’s talk about Tiger Stadium first. I have been to the Horseshoe in Columbus, Beaver Stadium in Happy Valley, and Neyland Stadium in Knoxville. But I have never seen anything like the game day atmosphere at LSU.
In a nutshell, everything you’ve ever heard about Death Valley is true. From the scope of the tailgating, to volume and immensity of the Saturday night crowd, it’s truly an electric scene. The school has about 30,000 students, but its campus has to be one of the smallest that boasts a 100K+ stadium. Imagine the platform of the 4/5 train outside Yankee Stadium after a game ends, but exponentially larger; that’s pretty much the scene everywhere on campus for four hours prior to kickoff.
The tailgating begins on Friday night, and will choke the roads in and around campus starting early on Saturday morning. However, this effect will be mitigated somewhat by the prime time start this week. If you can swing it, I highly recommend not bringing a car to campus for the game. Uber and Lyft do operate in the city, and while you’ll certainly have to pay surge pricing, you’ll want to avoid parking near the stadium if you can.
There is free parking on the southwest side of the stadium (near the baseball team’s Alex Box Stadium), but it can take a long time to get into, and forever to get out of. Last year, we were at the Ole Miss game (you know, the one where Leonard Fournette ran for like 800 yards), and it took us two and a half hours to drive four miles home after the game.
Unlike the hill in Syracuse, the best place to spend the entire afternoon before the game is tailgating on campus. LSU fans are super hospitable, and are famous for inviting visiting fans to tailgate with them. Whereas Syracuse bars fill up on Marshall Street, LSU doesn’t really have a scene like that within walking distance of campus. For pregame eating, drinking, and conversing, tailgates are really the only way to go. So go early, wear orange, and prepare to meet some great folks and sample some fantastic foods.
In terms of restaurants, I would check out Another Broken Egg for breakfast or brunch. They have two locations, and both are great. For lunch and/or bar food, Sammy’s on Highland Avenue is a local favorite. When it’s in season (and sadly, it’s not), they also have the best crawfish in town. The Chimes is the only bar/restaurant that is legitimately walkable to the campus, but I imagine it is pretty hard to get in there around Saturdays in the fall. If you can make it though, it has a great atmosphere, and a good selection of Cajun and Creole dishes.
The Rum House on Perkins Road has amazing tacos, and Lit Pizza, which is about a mile south of the stadium, has build-your-own wood fired pizzas, and it also has dairy-free and gluten free options. Also check out Newks Eatery, which is also a lunch place, and Walk Ons sports bar. Walk Ons has two locations, one of which is near Lit Pizza and the stadium.
Finally, there are a variety of restaurants on Perkins Road at the I-10 underpass that cover a range of different fares. Parrains has excellent seafood, and I’ve heard that Zippy’s Burritos are good too. George’s is also worth a visit if you’re looking for a good Baton Rouge dive bar.
This is obviously a small sampling of restaurants, but these are places that we’ve enjoyed during our time here, and are all on the south side of town and not too far from campus. So safe travels to all who are making the trip, and I’ll look forward to seeing everyone at the tailgates and in sections 403 and 404 at the game. Geaux Orange!