McNeese alumni prepare for burn ban-friendly tailgating

Published: Sep. 1, 2023 at 8:47 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Burn ban provisions make things a little tricky for those hoping to celebrate the beginning of football season with some good food.

At tonight’s McNeese block party and tailgating ahead of tomorrow’s game, people are taking some extra precautions.

Alumni like Sarah Leonard were showing their poke spirit, and after being with McNeese for 22 years, she’s following tradition as they prepare for the annual tailgate.

“We do tailgating every year for all of our home games. This year we have five home games starting Saturday,” said Leonard, who is the associate director of the McNeese Alumni Association.

With festivities beginning tonight, Leonard told us what to expect.

“Everyone gets so excited about tailgating because it’s just the livelihood of our area in Southwest Louisiana. We love to party, we love to join in groups, come out have fun, we’re looking forward to seeing our people this year, and Geaux Pokes,” Leonard said.

And with a statewide burn ban, Leonard said they are taking extra precautions.

“So any type of cooking for our tailgate will be on the cement so that way if there is any sort of issue then we will be able to attack it as soon as we can,” she said.

Food trucks and any other grills are usually stationed on grass, but this year they’re doing things a little differently, moving all food activity from the south side to the north side of the school’s pavilion as an alternative.

“Just like a food truck, so the food trucks are in contained areas and they are not stricken into that burn ban precautions that we have, so we’re doing the same and taking that same precaution here in the grove, carrying it on like a food truck,” she said.

Leonard said they are preparing for a crowd of about 600 people.

“This past week all of our fire marshals came in and updated all of our fire extinguishers so that we’re in preparation for this season, we’re ready to go,” she said.

Tonight’s party starts at 7 at the Robert Noland Alumni Pavilion.

Sept. 2 tailgate event schedule:

  • 8 a.m. - Parking lot opens (student tailgate opens)
  • 1 p.m. - Ticket office opens
  • 3 p.m. - Alumni tailgate opens
  • 3:45 p.m. - Cowboy walk
  • 5:30 p.m. - All stadium gates open
  • 5:40 p.m. - Band march down
  • 6:40 p.m. - Pregame begins
  • 7 p.m. - Kickoff.