Thousands of East Carolina, ULL fans hit the Quarter - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Thousands of East Carolina, ULL fans hit the Quarter for N.O. Bowl

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New Orleans, La. -

Thousands of football fans pour into the city for one of the first bowl games of the season.

The New Orleans Bowl pulls fans from southwest Louisiana and East Carolina for what organizers expect to be a record event.

There is a lot of purple and gold in the French Quarter this weekend.  But it's not the purple and gold of the LSU Tigers to which we're accustomed.  The purple and gold East Carolina Pirates are playing the vermilion-colored University of Louisiana at Lafayette Ragin Cajuns in the 12th annual New Orleans Bowl, and spirits are high.

Both teams come to New Orleans with 8-4 records, and strong followings.

"We're expecting a record crowd somewhere between 42- and 50-thousand fans," said Jay Cicero with the New Orleans Sports Foundation

And with ULL just two hours down I-10, their fans have out-purchased East Carolina fans for tickets three to one.

"The fan base is loyal and we haven't been to a bowl game in years, except for last year's new Orleans Bowl, so we are trying to surpass that record," said ULL fan Glenn Raggio.

Jackson Square and Cafe du Monde were packed with fans of both schools Friday.

Both teams have been here before, East Carolina most recently playing Tulane, and both say they're glad to be back.

"This is a special place, to come here and be a part of the city and have our team rewarded.  We appreciate the opportunity to be here," said East Carolina fan James Westmoreland.

And the New Orleans Sports Foundation appreciates the opportunity as well.   "Great impact, annual $15 million to $20 million, depending on teams.  Great exposure for ESPN and a great event on our calendar,"said Jay Cicero with the New Orleans Sports Foundation.

It all starts at 11:00 Saturday morning -- an interconference battle for New Orleans Bowl bragging rights, with a Cajun flair.

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