Thousands in town as Bayou Classic kicks off busy weekend

Updated: Nov. 29, 2019 at 5:48 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Thousands of Southern and Grambling University fans are in town for the 46th Annual Bayou Classic.

It's a tradition celebrated every weekend after Thanksgiving.

Fans dressed in black and gold or blue and gold take over New Orleans for Bayou Classic.

"I think it's special because it's two HBCU's coming together for a greater purpose, and that's getting to showcase HBCU's on a greater, national platform," Southern University Student Morgan Harris said.

"It's really such a big deal because the HBCUs are something that's really important to all of us, and the Bayou Classic is the number one HBCU out of all of the schools. Every year, we sell out of all of our tickets," Madison Martin, NOCCI Project Manager said.

Organizers said there's one change this year - the parade Saturday morning will be moved to Poydras Street instead of Canal, due to the Hard Rock collapse site.

“I’m a native Louisianian. So, I heard about it, it was a very sad situation, but I’m still gonna come here. I’m still gonna come to New Orleans. I’m still gonna come to Bayou Classic. I’m still gonna support my university, both institutions, and I’m gonna support the economy the best way I possibly can,” Byron Coward, Grambling State University Alumnus said.

Alumni said it's important for them to attend the game, no matter how far they have to travel.

"I come to the Bayou Classic every year. I have been doing so. Actually started with my parents as a kid, and I have been to every Bayou Classic. I'm 39 years old," Coward said.

"It's important to come down here to show support for my institution. Also, to show support to those young kids who want to come to Grambling to let them see what it's like after you have finished from Grambling," Freddie Colston, Grambling State University Alumnus said.

Some fans said Bayou Classic is a lot more than the game.

"I'm definitely looking forward to the Battle of the Bands to see Southern take it home," Harris said.

There's also a variety of events over the weekend, encouraging young entrepreneurs, like the BizTech Challenge.

“We have not just a football game, but we honor our coaches at the luncheon, we honor our students at BizTech, and we focus on the entrepreneurial side of helping the students get to where they need to get. So it’s not just a game,” Martin said.

"It's important that the students learn how to present their business ideas in a formal presentation, and a pitch competition is a great vehicle to do that," Wendy Overton, NexusLA Director of Programs said.

Some say it's a friendly rivalry, until it's time for their team to leave it all on the field.

“It doesn’t matter for me to come all the way from D.C. to come to see these two institutions play. I have family that went to Southern University, and this is our time to go back and forth with one another,” Coward said.

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