Bayou Classic fans roll into town for weekend festivities - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Bayou Classic fans roll into town for weekend festivities

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Vendors sell Bayou Classic wares in Champions Square next to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Vendors sell Bayou Classic wares in Champions Square next to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

New Orleans, La. -- As two drummers dressed in ethnic garb played at the entrance to Champions Square, Southern and Grambling fans moved about vendor tables.

At downtown hotels, thousands of fans were rolling in for a weekend of music, food and, of course, football rivalry.

"We actually came down yesterday to do Thanksgiving for the first time and we enjoyed it," said Grambling fan Leon Smith.

The Grambling Tigers beat the Southern Jaguars last year and GSU fans are looking for the same kind of play Saturday.

"I expect a repeat," said Grambling fan Linda Woodard.

"Basically, the records are out the door.  It's about pride, honor and dignity right now," stated Dwight Moore, another Grambling fan.

But Southern University fans say it is a new year and a time for the Jaguars to redeem themselves in the Bayou Classic game.

"Oh, we're going to win this year, that's for sure," said Emerson Bell.  He and his wife Sherry are staunch Southern fans -- so loyal that they traveled from California for the game.

"We feel like we have a very good chance of winning this year," said Sherry Bell.

Other Southern fans feel the same.

"It is our year, it's time. Southern is going to win the game and win the Battle of Bands," said Janice Monson of Atlanta as she walked towards Champions Square.

On Canal Street, NOPD's mobile command vehicles and security towers are positioned to help fans feel secure.  As usual, law enforcement held a news conference Friday to encourage safe driving.

"We're combining a big celebration, Thanksgiving, with another great event and that's Bayou Classic.  And this is a time, of course, that people tend to party a little bit, but we want to remind everyone to be safe, be cautious.  Also, don't drink and drive," said Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman.

The Bayou Classic is so popular that some people actually use the event as their annual family reunion.

"It is a reunion because half of my family graduated from Grambling and the other half graduated from Southern, so it's kind of like all of us meet down [here], some come from California, Texas," stated Monson.

"This is probably about my 20th Bayou Classic.  I'm a proud returning fan," said Moore.

And fans of the team defeated the previous year are itching for a win and a year's worth of bragging rights.

"We're going to win this year, we are going to win this year," said Southern fan Korell Cooper.

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