In the hours leading up to the game, tailgaters were packed shoulder to shoulder around the stadium, making the campus look something like a Civil War army camp. Portapotties and trash cans were overwhelmed, and picnickers squatted on the sidewalks because there was no room for them on the lawns.
On the morning after game day, the crowds were gone, save for a few dozen recreational vehicles (each costing about a quarter of million). Shades were drawn in the RVs, but the generators were running, so the owners must have been inside, sleeping off their hangovers.
And shortly after dawn, the cleanup crews were out early picking up thousands of discarded beer cans, plastic cups, and styrofoam fast-food containers. LSU used to hire prison trustees to do this work, but the optics were bad. This morning, young people are picking up the trash, perhaps LSU student volunteers.
Big disappointment. If only LSU could have knocked off Alabama and its satanic football coach, Nick Saban. If LSU coach Ed Ogeron had pulled it off, the fans would certainly have erected a statue in his honor, a statue even larger and gaudier than the one Alabama installed for Saban. But it was not to be.
No matter. Lots of Baton Rouge restaurants offer Bloody Mary brunches on Sunday, and it least one restaurant includes all-you-can drink mimosas for folks nursing hangovers. And then the Saints play the Rams on Sunday afternoon--an opportunity to drink Bud Lites and eat chicken fingers--chicken fingers that Coach Ogeron personally endorses.
Fall is the season of bacchanal in South Louisiana. Let's get drunk for every LSU game, every Saints game, and every playoff game. Let's get drunk at the fraternity hazing exercises. After all, hardly anyone dies from alcohol poisoning.
And then spring comes--another season of bacchanal. Mardis Gras parades start at least two weeks before Fat Tuesday, and the St. Patrick's Day parade is another occasion for a huge town drunk. The garbage trucks follow closely behind the St. Patrick's Day floats, sweeping up the discarded beads and beer bottles.
A friend told me he attended a Mardis Gras parade in New Orleans a few years ago. A drunk driver, driving a beer truck as it happened, plowed into a crowd of spectators, killing a woman who was pinned under the vehicle. My friend said he saw revelers crawl under the truck and loot the woman's Mardis Gras beads. The corpse was still warm.
Fox Business Report assures us daily that the economy is booming with record-low unemployment and a robust growth in wages. In Baton Rouge, people drive around in late-model luxury cars and pack the restaurants every night.
Cheaply built apartment complexes are being thrown up willy nilly for LSU students in the flood plain next to the Mississippi River levees. They feature swimming pools, and enormous television screens in the common areas. Meanwhile LSU passed a rule requiring most first-year students to live on campus, and it built its own faux-luxury residence halls to accommodate them.
But in North Baton Rouge, weekend killings are routine. A six-year-old was shot dead a couple of days ago, and thirteen-year-old was arrested. Baton Rouge schools are a mess, and almost no one of means will put their children in a public school.
The rich go to private schools, and the less well-to-do buy inexpensive homes in adjoining parishes where the schools are better. They drive to work every morning on Interstate 10, which is a parking lot from 7:30 AM until about 10 AM on workdays.
But the commute is not so bad. You can check your cell phone when the traffic grinds to a halt or listen to Stuart Varney on Fox Business Report tell you how much money we're all making in the stock market.
|Nick Saban's statue at University of Alabama|
Photo credit: David Mercer, USA Today