Game days under the oak will look different this year after LSU says no tailgating

How tailgating will look this football season

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Game days on Saturdays under the oaks on LSU’s campus will look different this football season.

This fall there will be no Golden Band marching down the hill, with the endless sea of people, tents and the smell of gumbo lingering in the air, along with just about everything else that makes LSU one of the best places to take in a football game will be absent.

University leaders announced on Wednesday, Sept. 9 that tailgating would not be allowed on campus in an attempt to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“It’s almost like why even have the season,” said Hardin Wells, a member of the Krewe of Old School, a large tailgating group.

With the season is still going on, so will the tailgating, although it will just look different. With the first game for the Tigers scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 26, the Krewe of Old School will be tailgating in Hardin Well’s backyard.

Wells will have several tents spread out across his yard, including TVs, and the works. He even has a large oak tree to making it seem almost as if the group was actually tailgating on campus.

“We’ve got multiple 10x20 tents, multiple 10x10 tents, we’ve got what’s really an outdoor commercial kitchen we’ll set up, we’ll set up our whole bar area, music sound system, satellite TVs and so forth. For all intents and purposes it will feel a lot like it does on game day,” Wells said.

Naturally there will be some social distancing, his yard is fairly large and will have space for everyone to spread out, but the thought of the pandemic will not be high on the list for those in attendance.

“High risk people aren’t going to come,” said Brian Belzar, a member of the krewe. They’re going to stay away just in case someone does get it. But for the rest of us, as far as being worried about it, I don’t think any of us are really worried about it."

Even though the party will have some resemblance of tailgating, this act is nothing more than a bandaid.

“This year is not going to be the same,” Belzar said. “We’re not going to have as many tailgaters, we’re used to 80 to 200 every game and it’s just, it’s going to be a totally different year. It’s going to be hard.”

That may sound ridiculous to someone else around the country, especially during a global pandemic, but in Louisiana, LSU Football is a religion and the game day experience is like going to church.

“It’s still just heart wrenching because its, it’s something in South Louisiana, LSU especially, we live for LSU Football. Period,” Belzar said.

That statement is why, in true Louisiana form, the Krewe of Old School will be holding Saturday service under the oak tree in Wells' back yard.

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