It started out as a simple football game between two rival, historically Black Universities and now, more than four decades later, it has morphed into something much larger.
This year’s 42nd Annual Bayou Classic is now four days of events featuring a parade, fan festival, empowerment and career seminars, a battle of the bands and much more, all of which culminates with a football matchup between the Tigers of Grambling State and the Jaguars of Southern University.
Once again this year, the Mercedes-Benz Superdome will host the “Bayou Clash” game that gave rise to all the festivities. The stadium will open at noon on Saturday, November 28 and this year’s kickoff time is at 4:00 p.m. Tickets are now on sale and can be ordered from Ticketmaster or purchased at the gate.
One of the entertainment highlights of the lead-up to the big game is provided by the two schools’ marching bands. The Grambling "Marching Tigers" and the Southern "Human Jukebox" will again compete in a "Battle of the Bands" event held the night before the game in the Superdome.
Those same two marching bands will lead the Fifth Annual Bayou Classic Thanksgiving Day Parade, Thursday, November 26, from the Superdome to the French Market. The parade will showcase floats, marching bands, military units, alumni groups, motorized units and elements of the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club, New Orleans’ oldest predominantly African American Mardi Gras parading organization.
Also, on the Friday night before the game, the Southern University System Foundation will hold a Donor Appreciation Gala in the Hyatt Regency. Featured entertainment will be by widely acclaimed jazz vocalist, Rachelle Ferrell. For tickets and information to this event call (225) 771-3911.
Here is the full schedule of open-to-the-public events for the Bayou Classic:
Thursday, Nov. 26: Bayou Classic Thanksgiving Day Parade, Mercedes-Benz Superdome to the French Market. 3:30 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 27: University Business Summit, Hyatt Regency Hotel. 9:00-11:00 a.m.
Friday, Nov. 27: Career and College Fair, Hyatt Regency Hotel. 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 27: Black College Alumni Caucus presented by the Grambling and Southern University Alumni Associations, Hyatt Regency Hotel. 2:30-4:00 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 27: Battle of the Bands and Greek Show, Mercedes-Benz Superdome. 6:00-10:00 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 27: TrueBLUE Donor Appreciation Gala presented by the Southern University System Foundation, Hyatt Regency Hotel Empire Ballroom with featured artist Rachelle Ferrell. 8:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m.
Saturday, Nov. 28: Fan Fest, Champions Square (adjacent to Superdome). 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 29: Gospel Brunch, House of Blues, 225 Decatur Street. 10:00 a.m.
For more details about the Bayou Classic events visit the event’s website.
Book a Hotel
Several hotels, including the Hyatt Regency adjacent to the Superdome, are offering special discount rates to Bayou Classic attendees. You can view a list of these hotels and their rates on the event’s website.
The rivalry between the two schools dates back to 1974, when the first Bayou Classic was held in New Orleans' Tulane Stadium. Since then, tens of thousands of fans have gathered at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, not only for this so-called “Bayou Clash” game, but also for what is now almost a full week of festivities in New Orleans.
In recent years, the two teams have been fairly evenly matched, with Southern winning the last three contests. In the Bayou Classic series that began in 1974, Southern holds a 21-20 edge. Overall, Southern and Grambling have played each other 62 times with Southern leading in the matchups 32-30.
Both teams, over the years, have produced an astounding number of players who went on to the NFL and other professional football leagues, some of whom are enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Longtime Grambling Head Coach, the late Eddie Robinson, who led his team to the first five Bayou Classic triumphs, is the winningest coach in NCAA Division I football history with 408 victories.
For tickets, visit Ticketmaster or visit the Superdome box office. Tickets sell out early every year, so make sure you get yours ahead of time!
The game will be televised on the local NBC affiliate, WDSU Channel 6.
If you prefer to watch the game on TV, there are many sports bars in and around the downtown area and elsewhere in the city where you can enjoy the thrill of the game. Click here for a list of New Orleans sports bars.