Bayou Classic 2017

Showdown in the Superdome

By Eric Craig

After Grambling State University reigned as Champion of the Bayou Classic during last year’s game, Southern University is coming back with vengeance. On Saturday, Nov. 25th, the Grambling State University Tigers and the Southern University Jaguars will hold their 44th Annual match at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome at 4 p.m. Tickets can be purchased on the Bayou Classic’s official website. NBC’s sports Network will also broadcast the event.

“We are geared up to host the Grandfather of all HBCU Classics in the City of New Orleans. People come from North, South, East and West to meet at the Bayou Classic and help further the support of both Grambling State University and Southern University,” said Dottie Belletto, President and CEO of New Orleans Convention Company, Inc. (NOCCI), the Management Firm of the Bayou Classic, in an official release. “Why? Because we are one as this year’s theme touts. When we stand together, think as one and do as one in support of HBCUs, we help to strengthen our future and the lives of the students who attend them and that’s what Bayou Classic is all about.” 
This year, organizers and officials at the Bayou Classic Foundation will present the competition’s first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award to Randy Jackson, former American Idol Judge, for his “established history of distinguished service, lasting contributions to schools and society, and his positive influence on culture at the national level.” Jackson graduated Southern University in 1979.

Earlier this year, Data News Weekly held an interview with Belletto about the future of the Classic. She mentioned this year would include a ramped-up BizTech Challenge and a new program celebrating classic MVPs.

The Bayou Classic organizers started the BizTech Challenge in 2016, where students from Louisiana’s six HBCUs competed to create an app to help small businesses recover from national disasters. This competition will play a larger role in the 2017 Festivities. This year over 24 teams from eight Historically Black Colleges and Universities will compete in Advanced Manufacturing, Clean Energy, and Digital Technologies categories. The winning team will win $10,000 in cash.

“We have created incubators on both campuses of their intelligence that is coming forward in technology. We are then creating something that will be continually sustainable for Grambling and Southern that will open opportunities with students,” Belletto said.

To keep up with the Bayou Classic, be sure to download the official application, which is available on the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.

The Stats
Competing in the 44th Annual Bayou Classic, Grambling State has a 6-0 record in the Southwestern Athletic Conference, while Southern follows with a 5-1 record. Both teams are in good standing to win the 2017 SWAC Championship. 
The 2016 Classic also broke the tie for series wins, with Grambling having a total of 22 wins and Southern having 21 wins over the Classic’s 43-year history.

The winner of Saturday’s Classic will compete in the Toyota SWAC Football Championship in Houston onDecember 2nd.

The History 
The tradition of Bayou Classic began 43 years ago, as the two highest-performing football teams, Grambling State Tigers and Southern University Jaguars, faced off in the Southwestern Athletics Conference. 

The Bayou Classic took off as a media phenomenon in 1990s, after being moved to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Since then the game has traditionally been played on the Saturday following Thanksgiving Day. 

The overseeing foundation held The Classic every year at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome since 1990, except in 2005, when Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans.

The New Orleans Convention Company, Inc., took over as the official event planner for the Bayou Classic nearly five years ago. It increased attendance at the Dome from 40,000 in 2012 to nearly 60,000 on Game Day. 
“We took it from the grassroots and built it up. We had to get all the way down and build the foundation,” said Belletto in a previous interview with Data News Weekly. “We had to change the perception that Bayou Classic wasn’t dying—it was well alive.” 

Impact on the City 
The Bayou Classic brings over 200,000 people and over $50 million to New Orleans. While the Game Day is the flagship event of the Bayou Classic, the event has transformed into a hub for college recruitment, family-centered events, Greek Step Show, Battle of the Bands and more.

Event Calendar: 
FRIDAY 
Bayou Classic BizTech Challenge
Friday, November 24th 
Hyatt Regency New Orleans, 601 Loyola Avenue, NOLA 70113
1 p.m.

Greek Show & Battle of the Bands
Friday, November 24th 
Mercedes Benz-Superdome, 1500 Sugarbowl Drive, NOLA 70112
Doors Open at 5 p.m. 

SATURDAY 
Doc Griggs 2X Around the Dome 
Saturday, November 25th 
Mercedes Benz-Superdome, 1500 Sugarbowl Drive, NOLA 70112
8 a.m.

Bayou Classic Parade 
Saturday, November 25th 
French Market to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome 
Parade will begin at 9:30 a.m.

Fan Festival 
Saturday, November 25th 
Champions Square, LaSalle St, NOLA 70112
11:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

The 44th Annual Bayou Classic
Grambling State University Tigers vs. Southern University Jaguars
Saturday, November 25th 
Mercedes Benz-Superdome, 1500 Sugarbowl Drive, NOLA 70112
Kick-off at 4 p.m.

The Official Bayou Classic After Party 
Saturday, November 25th 
Metropolitan Nightclub, 310 Andrew Higgins, NOLA 70130
Doors open at 11 p.m. 

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photos by Kichea S. Burt The Dumaine Street Gang held its 20th Annual Second-line Parade on Sunday, December 3rd. The parade

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