Tigeritaville a welcomed getaway

From office workers in a highly respected insurance firm by day, to Tiger tailgaters on LSU's campus by night, the members of the Tigeritaville tailgating group have proven that tailgating is not something reserved for students. Even professional businessmen can party like they were still in college.

The party started for these members when they were still in college at LSU in the early 80s, but they have managed to keep partying throughout the years. What started as a small friendly get together expanded into a major tailgating event after the group purchased their motor home in 1994.

Since then, this group has been out at LSU football games cooking, dancing, and drinking with the rest of the Tiger faithful.

Chad David is one of the original members of the Tigeritaville party, and said they try to pack as much partying in to one weekend as they can.

"We come here Friday after work and leave Sunday morning," David said. "On Saturday, we come out early and stay late."

Much of the gameday is spent cooking a massive buffet of Cajun food. On any given game, the group may have well over ten separate dishes prepared, all with a southern Louisiana taste.

Pasta jambalaya, shrimp fettuccini, alligator, roasted pig, and potato salad are just some of the entrees they prepared for the game against Tennessee.

One game a year, the group will put the Cajun cooking on hold for their specialty theme.

"Every now and then, we designate one weekend for a margarita, fiesta kind of thing," Lonnie Rodrigue, who is in charge of the cooking duties at Tigeritaville, said. "I think it's kind of the most popular."

On this weekend, the tailgaters cook their special fajitas and hook up a giant margarita machine to their motor home and let loose. The margarita tradition is how the group came up with the tailgating name "Tigeritaville."

This abundance of food is necessary for the large crowds that usually come out to tailgate with these partiers. David said there are usually around 200 people, many of whom are not from Louisiana, who come to Touchdown Village to party with these guys.

"We usually have people from all across the country come in," David said. "For just about every visiting team we have friends from that city we do business with and they bring their offices."

David estimated that the offices in Florida bring around 30 people to see the Tigers take on the Gators, and an even larger number of Alabama fans come when the Crimson Tide visits Tiger Stadium.

Even though most of the visiting fans tailgating with the group are part of the same parent company, David and his group of partiers still enjoy some friendly trash talking.

"We invite them and then harass them," David said. "But I think we accommodate the opposing team pretty nice. It's always a little fun poking them around."

However, the tables get turned when the Tigeritaville tailgaters travel for the LSU road games. Because their company has offices located in every SEC city, these tailgaters are able to travel to every away game and keep partying as though they were still in Baton Rouge.

"When we go to their cities and travel, they're waiting for us," David said.

All this networking with other offices requires significant communication between both parties. The members of Tigeritaville put just as much work into planning out their tailgating parties than they do at their actual jobs.

"We have a pre-season tailgate where we get together, go out to eat, and plan out the season," Jimbo Robertson, another original member of the Tigeritaville tailgaters, said.

Although tailgating provides this group with an escape from the stress of a full time job, there is one tradition they take very serious. Every game, the members of Tigeritaville bring a hat to the game and exchange it with an opposing team's fan whenever LSU scores. They write down the score on the hat, and the opposing fan must wear it until their team scores.

Aside from this tradition, the members of this tailgating group are laid back people who use these football games as an opportunity to relax and live easy. There are no rules and no restrictions, just good, clean, fun tailgating.

For David and his co-worker friends, their laid back atmosphere is the reason they believe many opposing fans always come back.

"We go there when our home games are there, but they love coming here because nobody tailgates like LSU," David said. "They haven't been disappointed yet."

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