BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - With two big football games this weekend, fans of the Southern Jaguars and LSU Tigers began to party early.
At LSU, thousands of tailgaters began to set up shop early. While RVs and food are part of the action, it is not every weekend that fans get to meet their favorite player.
"I came up on the side of him and said, 'Is that you, is that really you?'" said devout fan Leslie Lovett.
Walking around near Tiger Stadium early Friday afternoon, Lovett and her family ran into star running back, Leonard Fournette.
"It was awesome," Lovett. "He has such a humble spirit."
"He was so massive in the shoulders," said Lovett's son, Hunter Bihm.
Fournette took photos with the Lovett family.
"It's something I'll cherish for the rest of my life," Bihm said.
The parking lots along River Road were full overflowing with tailgaters. In the middle of the sea of purple and gold, a few Gator fans gathered.
"So right now, it's just Gator island," said Gator fan, Jill Smith.
Although they were greatly outnumbered, they said the LSU fans displayed true Southern Hospitality.
"Everybody's very very nice," Smith said.
That said, the Gators did have one objection – gator meat, a staple of any LSU tailgate.
"If you want to eat a little gator, that's fine, but it's going to get you in the end," Smith said.
Across town, Southern University kicked off their Homecoming weekend in style with a gala at the Belle of Baton Rouge. Hundreds of alumni and community members gathered in the large atrium, with local bands and 80s groups performing on stage.
"It's a wonderful blend of seeing people you haven't seen in a while and meeting new people," said Baton Rouge Constable and Southern alumnus, Reginald Brown, Sr.
"We have food, music and networking for the entire community, so it's really a fabulous time," said Donald Andrews, dean of the Southern School of Business.
The event itself doubles as a fundraiser, with money raised going to scholarships for business school students. This year, Andrews said they hope to bring in more than $65,000.
The events continue throughout the weekend, including the Southern University Homecoming Parade on Saturday morning.