A Hurricane Party on the Bayou

Brian ScottAnalyst IAugust 29, 2008

It’s unfortunately become a familiar routine. I just emptied everything out of my refrigerator and freezer and put it all in the dumpster.


If you don’t perform this ritual prior to evacuation, your olfactory senses will remind you of what a dope you are as soon as you come back home.


I want to apologize in advance if the tone of this piece is somewhat abrasive, but as many of you have probably surmised, my long-awaited LSU season-opener is practically ruined. Governor Bobby Jindal leaned on the new LSU athletic director, Joe Allleva, to move the kickoff of tomorrow’s game up to 10 a.m. CDT. 


That basically means an extremely truncated tailgating schedule, a sleepy crowd, and a historical trend of underwhelming performance that seems to plague the Tigers whenever they kickoff before noon.


By the way, there is a potential Category Three hurricane named Gustav that is threatening to make landfall on the Louisiana coast in about three days.


I can assure you that I’m not alone in my anger, though. When the announcement came out this morning about the adjusted kickoff time, my cell phone melted. People were talking about issuing a recall petition for Jindal.


"This is tantamount to canceling Christmas!" they said.


I guess we sound quite demented. A potentially deadly hurricane is heading our way, and nothing less than life and property are at stake, but all we can do is complain about being inconvenienced for the football game.


Don’t get me wrong, Jindal has been a great governor so far (being considered a “great” governor of Louisiana pretty much means he has never seen the inside of a federal prison cell), but he didn’t go to LSU, so we don’t expect him to understand.


Here is a great example of how sacred LSU football is to the folks here in Louisiana. In 1998, Hurricane Georges was about 24 hours away from making landfall in New Orleans, and a sellout crowd was watching LSU play Idaho in Baton Rouge, about 70 miles away. That wasn’t a typo, I said Idaho.


LSU won the game, 53-20, and nobody left early. The PA announcer kept calling out which roads were being closed and urged people to leave the game early or they may not be able to get home. Nobody left. What’s wrong with us?


Before every game, the Tiger Stadium PA announcer, Dan Borne', reads a weather report. The report usually includes the temperature, cloud condition, wind direction, and velocity, etc. At the end of the report, he always says, “Chance of rain...NEVER!”


There is an old folklore about how it never rains in Tiger Stadium. Well, let me let you in on a little secret: It does rain in Tiger Stadium sometimes. I’m not supposed to tell outsiders, so please don’t rat me out!


And make no mistake, if Gustav keeps on the current track that Jim Cantore just illustrated while I was typing this sentence, then it's going to rain in Tiger Stadium on Tuesday. It’s going to rain a lot.


But here’s the funny part: I forgot to tell you about why the game was really moved up six hours. LSU officials didn’t want to feel the wrath of the fans who were already annoyed that the game was moved from 7 p.m. to 4 p.m. (for TV) by canceling it. The governor really wanted to start “contra flow” Saturday evening, so something had to give.


For those of you who don’t know, “contra flow” means that all lanes of the major interstates and highways flow in the same direction to aid evacuation of the New Orleans metropolitan area. If the game went ahead as scheduled, you would have thousands of evacuees trying to get out of the city while, at the same time, thousands of LSU fans were trying to get back in.


So this is seriously what happened: They moved the game to 10 a.m. and announced that contra flow would begin as soon as the State Police "felt that the traffic from the LSU game had completely subsided." 


So you see, if you live in south Louisiana and a deadly hurricane is bearing down on you, you shouldn’t expect to be able to escape to safety until the Tigers have left the field and the fans have left the highways.


I know, we’re crazy. But a fan can’t really be a true fan without being at least a tiny bit  dysfunctional. But the next time the debate comes up about who has the most die-hard fans, I just ask that you remember this story.


On a serious note, I greatly appreciate all the notes of concern I have been getting over the last few days from my B/R buds. I promise to stay in touch and let you guys know that the wife and I are OK. Who knows, you guys might be my main contact with the outside world for a while.


I guess it’s time to begin another “Hurrication!” By the way, today is the three-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Life is funny that way.