The 37th annual Bayou Classic was a success for the G-men and Grambling community. With a final score of 38-17 over Southern University’s jaguars, black and gold enthusiasm permeated throughout New Orleans last weekend. Bayou Classic weekend was an opportunity for alumni and students to network. It was also an opportunity for financial gain in New Orleans; but, with an estimated 200,000 people in the area, safety concerns remained.
Community leaders did their part to spread the be-safe gospel to Bayou Classic goers. The New Orleans Police Department was highly visible at the festivities; however, many students found themselves in dire situations.
A GSU student was robbed at gunpoint while in New Orleans.
“I’m thankful to be here,” the student said before adding that s/he hoped that the incident would remind students to be safe during future Classics.
The student reported that s/he was initially with friends and wanted to return to his/her hotel room when Bourbon Street became too crowded. The individual took to a parallel side street alone and was robbed.
The Saturday night Bourbon Street crowd knocked down at least one GSU student as celebrators reported gunshots fired. These occurrences caused discomfort for some students even though students said they had a good weekend.
“I really enjoyed the Bayou Classic, GSU football, Battle of the Bands and the New Orleans culture definitely made for an exciting Thanksgiving holiday,” said marketing graduatingsenior Jelyse Dawson.
“However, . I had to run into a convenience store to get away from the gunshots.”
Dawson said that this was the second year that she fled from danger during Bayou Classic weekend. Other students said that this Bayou Classic was another drama-free celebration for Gramblinites.
“I felt safe at the Classic because I’m from New Orleans,” said Clark Toombs, a business-marketing senior.
“I did feel safe for the simple fact that I didn’t drink enough to where I couldn’t control myself,” said Glynn Price, a marketing and management junior from Shady Grove.
Cameron Butler, a hotel/restaurant management junior from Dallas, said that he attended five Bayou Classics and did not feel threatened at any of them.
“As long as you stay conscious of your surroundings, you’ll be fine,” Butler said.
Student Government Association President Lamark Hughes offered words of advice.
By taking simple precautions, students can decrease the likelihood of being victimized, he said. Hughes encouraged students to travel in groups and avoid carrying large monetary sums.
“Squash the drama. Black on Black crime is killing us literally,” said Dawson.
Price reminded students not to be fearful.
“New Orleans is not a dangerous city. It’s just people putting themselves in dangerous situations,” said Price.
While the Bayou Classic weekend is over, numerous students will travel home to other states and countries for the Christmas holidays. The following tips can be applied to travel back to one’s home and/or are applicable to New Year’s celebrations:
1)There’s power in numbers. Traveling in groups can be a deterrent for trouble. It is more difficult to prey on large groups of close people than it is to take advantage of solo roamers.
2)Flashier is not always better. While there is no specific attire for people to be harmed, gaudy displays of riches can attract unwanted attention and attack.
3)Designate a driver if celebrations will include alcohol consumption.
4)Buckle up. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 250 lives were saved by seat belts last year in Louisiana.
5)Trust your gut.
Pull out road travel facts:
In 2008, 62 percent of African-Americans killed in motor vehicle crashes were unrestrained. Louisiana suffered 204 African-American fatalities that year.
Last year, there were 824 total traffic fatalities in Louisiana.
General seat belt use in Louisiana is 75.9 percent, which is almost 10 percentage points lower than the national average of 85 percent.
A recent study has found that one in six fatal auto crashes involves a drowsy driver. (Source: NY Times)