Les Bous Cru a credit to Tiger tailgating

LSU tailgaters are known for their rowdy behavior, loud music, and party animal antics. But scattered around Touchdown Village are a few quiet, family oriented parties whose love for the Tigers is just as strong as all others.

The tailgating party Les Bous Cru has been part of the LSU tailgating scene for over 15 years. The party started at one family member's house in the early 90s, and progressed on to LSU's campus after they purchased their tailgating motor home.

Even though the Cru was started with family members, Mary Bourgeois, the leader of the Cru, insists their partygoers do not need to share blood, just a passion for Tiger athletics.

"It's a family thing, but we love to meet new people," Bourgeois said.

Age is also no limit for the tailgaters. One tailgater present at most of the games is 92 years old, and still commutes from her home in Metairie to Baton Rouge every week to join the party.

Bourgeois said they come out early in the morning and don't stop until the curfew forces them. Win or loss, Les Bous Cru always has their music blaring until the midnight curfew. They enjoy playing Cajun music and giving a Southern Louisiana atmosphere for the visiting guests. When midnight hits, the stereo is turned off and packed up, ready for the next game.

"I will play my music up to 12 and wherever it is, I'll stop it," Bourgeois said, "and then everyone around here says now we know its time to go to sleep."

As soon as they arrive to campus, they start cooking and socializing. The menu is just as diverse as the people in the group. They try to differ it from game to game, and always try to cook whatever mascot the Tigers are playing that day. A favorite of theirs is alligator for the Florida game.

"We do everything," she said. "We do the jambalaya, we do the barbeque. Anything you'll want to have we'll have it here."

Although the Cru may not be the rowdy party animals many other Tiger tailgating parties, this group can hold their own with regard to their beverages of choice. Bourgeois said one of the classic drinks in their party is called "Cactus Juice," which is accompanied by a toast every game.

Before the Cru makes their way to the stadium, everybody raises a glass of their special drink mix, blast the Golden Band's Pre-game song from their speakers, and make a toast for a Tiger victory.

In fact, while Bourgeois was talking, her granddaughter approached to top off the half empty goblet in her hand.

They welcome all visitors to come and raise a glass for their Cactus Juice toast, and love it when fans from the visiting team come to party with them.

One tradition kept strictly within the family is their annual football party. Two weeks before the first home game, Les Bous Crew hosts an invitation only social and dance where they prepare themselves for three months of tailgating.

"We have a big football kickoff dance, and our boys play the music," Bourgeois said. "We started it 12 years ago. It started out with 90 people and our biggest crowd so far has been 550."

Les Bous Cru does not limit themselves to just the Baton Rouge area. Every year this group of tailgaters takes to the road and follows the Tigers to a couple of away games.

"We all meet here, and go to some of the out of town games," Bourgeois said. "In fact, we were just looking at our parking pass for the Alabama game this year."

The Alabama game marks a special occasion for Les Bous Cru because every other year, when the game is played in Baton Rouge, the group welcomes some long term Crimson Tide friends.

"We also do a big party here for the Alabama group because we've been friends with them for over 20 something years," she said.

Bourgeois also uses their tailgating to market her collection of LSU art she makes by hand. Paintings of Tiger Stadium and Mike the Tiger are just some features she displays next to the motor home.

Although most of the tailgaters have been out of college for some years, the members of Les Bous Cru still keep the party atmosphere flowing every week.

"It's just an awesome group," she said. "It's family and friends, and we're really LSU people."

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