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The Battle of the Cats Come Back to New Orleans

Edwin Buggage | 11/28/2014, 10:12 a.m. | Updated on 11/28/2014, 10:12 a.m.
The Bayou Classic is in its 41's year, more than just a football game it has become an important part ...

The Classic Turns 41

The Bayou Classic is in its 41's year, more than just a football game it has become an important part of the Thanksgiving weekend as a destination for many African-Americans. In addition to what’s going on the gridiron there is the Battle of the Bands and the halftime show that is as much of an attraction as the game. In its origins in 1974 it was just a game between two Louisiana schools that at one time grew with people coming from all over the country to participate in the battle of the cats. Since Hurricane Katrina the attendance have decreased, but last year on its 40th Anniversary saw an upward spike in attendance, a sign that it may be a resurgence of interest in the game. And while the numbers are less than what it's been in past years there is still a multi-million dollar impact on the City of New Orleans. Working more closely with the tourism commission to re-brand and reposition the game to attract larger numbers it is an experience that's not just targeted to football fans. It is five days of events featuring a parade, fan festival, a golf tournament, empowerment seminars, the highly anticipated Battle of the Bands with The Grambling "Marching Tigers" and the Southern "Human Jukebox" competing in an event held the night before the game in the Superdome. And of course the big game and events for fans and plenty of parties both day and night, so the 41st Anniversary of the Bayou Classic promises to be bigger and better than ever and again show New Orleans as a first-rate destination to hold large events.

The Battle of the Cats: Breaking the Tie

Last year while writing this story Southern Graduate Alger Taylor 99 called the Bayou Classic: The Black Super Bowl. Something that rings a note of truth, this year's game will be the tie breaker in the battle of the cats that are tied at 20 wins each. This year both teams are on a roll the Grambling State Tigers are 5-0 in the SWAC (South Western Athletic Conference) and the Southern Jaguars are 3-1. This year’s game promise to be a knockdown drag out affair to be loved by all as to who will this year own the bragging rights in this tie breaking game.

Black Football Equals Green for New Orleans and Focus on Community Service

Every year the Bayou Classic brings in approximately 200,000 people into the Crescent City with an estimated economic impact of $30 million dollars on the City. In addition the schools will also raise millions of dollars in scholarships to deserving students from both institutions. When the game is over the impact is still felt throughout the City because of the many community service projects that take place on that weekend.

Since Hurricane Katrina every year there is a day dedicated to service where volunteers work on community service projects, working to help in some of the most damaged areas after the storm and levee breach. In past years they worked with the New Orleans Recreation Department in projects to help rebuild neighborhood parks for young people in addition to working in the Lower Ninth Ward.

Bayou Classic Continuing a Great Tradition

The decades old Bayou Classic is now as much a part of New Orleans as red beans on Monday and the sounds of second-line bands. It is an opportunity for the world to see the world of HBCU's and the great tradition that continues within these great institutions of higher learning. In their hundreds of years these schools gave opportunities for many when the doors of segregation kept many from receiving a college education. And while we live in a world that is more integrated and African-Americans in some instances have access to un-presented opportunities these schools are still important. As the incubators of young people to achieve future greatness. So with the Bayou Classic it gives the world an opportunity to witness the best in Black college football and also take part in the great tradition of African-American uplift that is good for the City, the state and the nation.