Bayou Classic Celebrates 43 Years of Tradition


Nov. 26, 2016 

NEW ORLEANS, La., Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016 — The city of New Orleans danced, sang and marched this week in anticipation–and afterward, in celebration–of the 43rd annual Bayou Classic football game between Grambling State University and Southern University.

Grambling played a consistently strong game against Southern and won the championship title 52-30. Seats in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome filled up quickly as the eager crowds poured in on Thanksgiving weekend.

Many attendees, such as Michael Castille, also attended the Battle of the Bands–a joint event held in the Superdome before the game–in which the marching bands of the two universities perform renditions of popular rap and hip hop songs.

“The game’s a way to celebrate culture and feel connected with the city,” Castille remarked. “Some of my good friends growing up went to Southern, so we always used to go to the games and see the bands play. I only had missed a couple games since then.”

Many who work in the French Quarter also note that the game brings in lots of revenue for the city. Stewart Gray, an employee at Bayou Threads–a souvenir and clothing shop located on Bourbon Street–said “It’s always a busy time in the shops, because there’s tourists everywhere from Bayou Classic, or Saints games, what have you. So it definitely brings in a lot of business for us.”

During my interview with Gray, in fact, a street brass band began to play just outside of the shop, and–characteristically of New Orleans–a crowd began to form nearby, with many charmingly boozy dancers enjoying the music, several of whom eventually wandered into the shop. “They play out there pretty often,” Gray said, “but especially during game weekends, because they know there’ll be more people here to play for.”

Many New Orleans natives, as well as tourists, look forward to the tradition of the Bayou Classic game every year. It is a celebration of the rich African American heritage that influences the city’s culture. The two historically black colleges may be rivals on the field, but they all celebrate unity and joy together to kick off the holiday season.

About the Bayou Classic

“Bayou Classic is the historic gridiron rivalry between Grambling State University and Southern University, encompassing a weeklong series of entertaining and socially enriching events … in New Orleans, LA. The famed Classic embodies a family friendly atmosphere and fosters an economic impact of $50 million to the greater city of New Orleans…With viewership over 5.5 million in 2015 on the NBC Sports Network, the Bayou Classic has proven to be a steadfast beacon of legacy and tradition that extends beyond the HBCU community. Over 200,000 fans from across the nation journey to New Orleans during Thanksgiving weekend to witness the electrifying football game … while eagerly awaiting the highly anticipated halftime show featuring two of the greatest marching bands in the nation.”

About the Mercedes-Benz Superdome

The Superdome is home to the New Orleans Saints football team, and is also known for hosting other popular events, such as music concerts, Mardi Gras parade parties and the annual Bayou Classic football game.



Adrienne Falgout


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