GAME DAY:  Mizzou vs. LSU Preview by Rob Rains: Lots of unknowns about Missouri's first trip to LSU on Saturday https://shar.es/1xErIh

Support the Sportsman's Paradise; Visit Louisiana and Let the Good Times Roll

By Suzanne Corbett

Tiger vs. Tiger. The Missouri Tigers play in "Death Valley" the nickname given to the 102,000 seat LSU Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana this Saturday.  A large contingent of Mizzou fans will be heading to Baton Rouge for Saturday's game and the tourist industry in that area is happy to have them.

According to LSUSports.net, "Seven days a year, Tiger Stadium becomes the fifth largest city in the state of Louisiana as over 100,000 fans pack the cathedral of college football to watch the Tigers play.  For LSU fans, there’s nothing better than spending a night in Tiger Stadium. LSU home football games are events talked about year round and happenings in Tiger Stadium are passed down from generation to generation. For opponents, however, it’s another story as Tiger Stadium is an intimidating venue that has been called one of the most dreaded road playing sites in all of college football."

A recent trip to Louisiana included a stop at Tiger Stadium to check it out. There is a giant statue of a tiger, but that's not all--they have a live tiger (his home is shown in photo, right)  living in a zoo-like environment right there next to the stadium. "Mike the Tiger" has been a tradition at LUS since 1936. There have been different "Mike the Tigers" over the years, but Mike will be there this weekend and recently he got an upgrade on his living quarters. Fans can walk by on their way to the game and see him. He even has his own website: MikeTheTiger.com

When Louisiana suffered the floods earlier this year, STLSportsPage.com fans helped Cardinals minor league player Mason Katz with the flood relief efforts by contributing supplies, donations to the Red Cross and gift cards. They were delivered and since then, the waters have receded and life seems to be getting back to normal-- except for one thing, the tourists stopped going there. The Mizzou Tiger fans will be welcome visitors.

The flooding caused Louisiana to take a financial hit because of the decline of tourists, but  the best way now to help Louisiana--known as the Sportsman’s Paradise-- to  fully recover, is go visit.  Louisiana Tourism (www.LouisianaTravel.com) wants people to know they are open for business. They invite everyone to come on down and let the good times roll. 

Good times are promised to Mizzou Football and SEC fans who are making the trek-- whether they plan on having tailgates or just partaking in the many establishments available to visitors and locals. If not going for football you might consider going to Louisiana soon just for a visit, because any sports fan can find something to like in the state of Louisiana whether it be the great food (some shown left), paddling the bayou, fishing, hunting or watching the NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) raceway action. 

One of the best places to visit is Baton Rouge, a city that often suffers from drive-by - people driving pass to get somewhere else considered more high profile such as New Orleans. While New Orleans is wonderful, take a side trip and visit Baton Rouge Louisiana’s capital city and home LSU. Afterwards head south to Lafayette / Cajun Country or North to Shreveport where you’ll discover another side of Louisiana well worth the trip.

Baton Rouge
Baton Rouge aka Red Stick provides great college football and a mix diverse activities and sites steeped in history and southern charm. With New Orleans and Lafayette only about an hour in opposite directions, Baton Rouge makes a perfect hub location for day trips. Ride the river road to visit Louisiana’s famed plantations or explore the Atchafalaya Basin. You won’t go wrong making a stop at these Baton Rouge destinations.

- LSU football. Catch a game, listen to the LSU Golden Band and visit the Parade Grounds on a game day for tailgating.

- Golf the Audubon Golf Trail. Check out the newest course at the Atchafalaya Gold Course at Idelwild, which is surrounded by the natural beauty and wildlife from the Atchafalaya Basin.

- Tour a Plantation. A local favorite is the Frogmore Cotton Plantation & Gins, listed as a Rand McNally must see site that contrasts a working cotton plantation of the early 1800's with a modern cotton plantation and gin of today

- LSU Rural Life Museum. A village of 32 buildings dating from the early 19th to 20th century featuring the life-ways of the rural people of Louisiana.

Lafayette/Cajun Country
Wonderful, food and music - no wonder Lafayette has been dubbed the happiest city in America. Lafayette is Cajun central, located in the heart of Cajun country where the music is hot and its food is legendary. 

Cajun Country Must-Dos:

- Jean Lafitte Acadian Cultural Center. The center tells stories of the origins, migration, settlement, and contemporary culture of the Acadians (Cajuns) and other area groups.

- Avery Island, Tabasco’s Home (Tabasco Sauce, shown, left). Tour its newly expanded museum and see, smell and taste the fine points from field to the vat to the bottle of Louisiana’s hot sauce

- The Liberty Theatre/Rendezvous Des Cajuns: Saturdays night in nearby Eunice, LA gather for Cajun music and Cajun two-stepping at the 1928 renovated Liberty movie house for the Rendezvous Des Cajuns, a live radio broadcast in the Grand Old Opry style.

- Explore the Swamp: Take a swamp tour and ride an airboat to get a close up look at Louisiana’s wild side.

- Eat like Cajun. Savor South Louisianan culinary specialties from crawfish, Boudin and gumbo to Creole style fine dining.

Shreveport
North Louisiana, dubbed “Louisiana’s Other Side” is where you’ll find experiences unique to the Shreveport/Bossier. Here is an eclectic mix of activities ranging from outdoor sports, festivals, food and a trail of unique music history. Located in the northwestern corner of the state Shreveport is a world class bass fishing and boating destination where thousands come annually to its scenic lakes and river-ways. Family activities, museums, concerts, shopping and festivals provide year-round entertainments.

 Here are just a few of the fun things to see, do and eat in Shreveport:

- Thunder Road Raceway, state-of-the-art, motorsports facility featuring a 1/4-mile drag strip, sanctioned by the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) featuring weekend events March through November

- Shreveport Municipal Auditorium: Home of the Louisiana Hayride that launched the careers of Elvis, Johnny Cash and served as a venue for blues greats as Huddie “Leadbelly” Ledbetter and B.B. King.

- Shreveport Shrimp: Order a plate of the city’s famous shrimp dishes. 

Shreveport Stuffed Shrimp at C& C Café (plump shrimp stuffed with Cajun seasoned dressing, breaded and deep-fried) and the Shrimp Buster, the house special since 1938 at Herby K’s. You can't miss C&C, shown right.

Zip-line over Alligators: Gators & Friends Alligator Park & Exotic Zoo where visitors can stroll the grounds, pet baby gators (shown in photo, left) or zip-line over the gator enclosure during their daily feeding shows.

- Shreveport is where the Camping World Independence Bowl is played. This postseason division I college football features teams from the SEC and ACC. Tickets on sale now for the December 26 match-up.

For more information on all there is to do--whether going down during football season or any other time of the year: (www.LouisianaTravel.com)