A family affair

Tucked away in the shadows of Tiger Stadium, distant from the raucous partygoers in Touchdown Village is a family oriented tailgating party hosted by Ronnie and Vivian Anderson.

Ronnie Anderson is a member of the Board of Supervisors at LSU and has been following LSU athletics for most of his life.

"I've had season tickets since I was 15 years old," Ronnie said. "I got my driver's license and my season tickets at the same time."

For over 10 years the Andersons have been celebrating LSU football with their family and friends in the Tiger Stadium parking lot, but their passion for Tiger athletics has resided within them forever.

"We love anything to do with LSU," Vivian, who is a member of the Bengal Belles, said. "It's something we grew up with."

The Andersons started tailgating at the football games as a means to gather everyone together for a few hours. For the past 35 years, the Andersons have teamed with close friends Kenny and Donna Jenkins in their weekend tailgating traditions. They began tailgating outside of the Law Center so their children could play football on the Parade Grounds, but moved to the stadium after their children grew older. Their current location is a perfect fit due to its close proximity to Tiger Stadium.

"It's a direct route into the stadium, so a lot of people pass this way," said Vivian Anderson.

Although the locations may have changed through the years, the Andersons still concern themselves with family hospitality.

Serving traditional comfort foods like fried chicken, sandwiches, brownies, and chips and dip, the menu varies depending on the game and the weather. But most importantly, the Andersons just want food that makes people feel relaxed.

Every week, they estimate 25 to 30 people stop by to socialize.

"We've got our children, our grandchildren, and the group just expands all the time," said Ronnie Anderson.

The Andersons also welcome many of the University's top level officials. On any given weekend, a number of LSU Associates and Board Members will stop by and visit with the Anderson crew.

"We welcome anyone to stop by and visit with us," Vivian Anderson said.

In addition to Tiger fans, the Andersons greet visiting fans with strong hospitality and friendliness.

"We are always very cordial because we like to be treated that way when go out," she said.

The Andersons usually travel to at least two or three away games each season. Their passion for LSU goes deeper than simply athletic events. Attending the university has become a family ritual for the Andersons.

"We both attended LSU, our siblings attended LSU, our children have attended LSU, and we're indoctrinating our grandchildren into attending LSU," Ronnie Anderson said.

Vivian Anderson said before each child was able to read, they could understand the letters LSU and knew what they stood for.

Even family pets have a connection to LSU. An orange striped cat was named Mike the Tiger after their granddaughter saw the mascot in his cage.

The Andersons look forward to other LSU sports as well and they are regulars at LSU basketball and baseball games.

Even without Tiger athletics, the Andersons will find any excuse to gather their friends and family. They host numerous social parties for any sort of holiday, from Christmas to the start of hunting season.

"We're just big on getting together," he said.

But it is LSU football that is the first love of this couple. In 1959, Vivian Anderson went with her father to the LSU game against Ole Miss. That night, Billy Cannon recorded his memorable punt return giving the Tigers a 7-6 victory.

"We are avid fans and wouldn't think about missing a game at all for any reason," she said.

For the Andersons, LSU football is more than 60 minutes of action on the gridiron. It is a way for them to gather the people they are closest to and enjoy their company for one day of the week.

"It's a big family thing," she said. "We look forward to Saturdays in Tiger Stadium. There's nothing like it."

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