Due to Hurricane Katrina’s postponing of last year’s festivities in New Orleans, Grambling and Southern fans were anxiously awaiting the return of the State Farm Bayou Classic to Louisiana.
The festivities last fall hosted in Houston had a different feel: the game, battle of the bands, greek show, and also the fanfare events.
This year’s fanfare activities weren’t as intriguing as the ones in New Orleans in the years past, but fans still came out just excited to have the events back in town.
Several artists came out to perform including Lil’ Boosie, a south Louisiana native, Choppa, and Big Boi of OutKast. Representatives of different companies such as Kellogg’s, AARP, and several independent business vendors came out to set up displays for their corporations.
“Everything was real nice,” said Eric James, independent vendor and a Southern alumna. “There were no problems, no confusion, and everything was laid back.”
Although James enjoyed the more leisure side of this year’s event, others felt the financial downside of things.
“This year didn’t have a big turnout,” said Darren Norton, independent vendor. “My sales this year were down drastically. I spent way more this year and made way less!”
With this year being one of the record lows in attendance all-time of the Bayou Classic, it’s to no surprise that the Baton Rouge native felt such a decrease in currency. Some vendors enjoyed the lower number of fans/customers. The fewer the people, the fewer the thefts, but at the same time the fewer the dollars! Most vendors would rather have had the typical Bayou Classic crowd, the percentage of thefts not really mattering.
I attended the Classic last year in Houston and didn’t recall any fanfare activities whatsoever. Some was due to weather conditions, but most because of the rapid change of location.
One would think that the Classic would’ve had a great turnout, due to the absence of it in the Big Easy last year. Attendance was much higher last year with it being in Houston, some of that probably due to the new location causing more Texas natives to come out to see what the Classic was all about.
It doesn’t matter how good or how bad attendance was as the saying goes: “There is always a next time.”