40 years after Tulane's final game at the old Tulane Stadium, college football returns to campus Saturday at the brand new Yulman Stadium.
Excitement is building for that moment that alums and students have been waiting years to see. The Green Wave and Georgia Tech are set for a Saturday 3 p.m. kickoff.
The $73 million facility is complete and hopes are high that the sparkling new venue will transform Tulane athletics and campus life.
"It's a huge boost. It's a beautiful new stadium," said student Steve Kline. "Student activities, student involvement has never been higher. Everyone is excited."
The party began Friday afternoon at a pep rally in the Tulane Quad area where, by Friday evening, rows of tents were up and ready for the first big on-campus tailgate in decades.
With thousands expected for the sold-out stadium opener, some neighbors braced for the incoming crowds.
"I think it's going to be great, I really do," said Bill Detweiler, who lives one street over. "We'll have some [parking] headaches, but we'll get over those."
While most fans believe the inaugural game at Yulman will be a huge moment for Tulane, some said it's something the entire city can take pride in.
"It's very exciting," said student Gavin Reidenauer. "I think the tailgating, bringing everybody together for the community and really just getting a lot more school spirit for our athletics program."
During a Friday afternoon stadium dedication, Mayor Mitch Landrieu praised the hard work that went into making the vision become a reality.
"It's much, much more than just a football stadium," Landrieu said. "It is the central part where the community grows to know each other, to love each other, to be together and form the foundation of what makes great cities, great neighborhoods and great places."