The Bayou Classic made a triumphant return to its storm-torn New Orleans home with many people skeptical about the city’s readiness. The smallest crowd in Bayou Classic history turned out to see first hand what state the city and the two schools were really in.
“Last year was a horrible year for not only the city but the state. The (Bayou) Classic coming back to New Orleans will serve as mental motivation as we have a long way to go before we can get back to where we used to be” said Beatrice Williams a New Orleans native.
Many credit the small turnout to the low number of New Orleans residents returning to New Orleans after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. This year’s official game attendance totaled more than 47,000 in comparison to last year’s total of more than 53,000 in Houston. Both are considerably lower than the normal Classic crowd that exceeds 70,000.
The small turnout didn’t affect the will of the two football teams. Even with the number of fans limited, both teams came to play. Many were expecting a boring game because of the two teams having poor records. Despite the poor records the game was competitive; Southern pulled out the close victory 21-17.
Sloppy play and bad play calling was the dagger that killed the Tigers late. Joseph Perkins a New Orleans native said “Grambling shot themselves in the foot-because Southern didn’t really impress me much.”
The Battle of the Bands didn’t work out to well for Grambling as well. Many felt as thought both schools weren’t impressive, but Southern definitely was superior to what Grambling brought to the table.
Giving consideration to the circumstances, this year’s Bayou Classic was an overall success. “I was happy to see the (Bayou) Classic back in the Bayou where it belongs,” said Michael Moore Jr. of Atlanta.