Remembering Nov. 12, 1932: Centenary 6, LSU 0

Every Saturday in Baton Rouge, tailgaters pack LSU's campus and prove that they do not need much of a reason to host a good pre-game party.

For a select few on campus Saturday, they proved they did not even need a football team to throw a tailgating party.

Members from the Baton Rouge chapter of the Centenary College Alumni Association hosted a get together outside of Tiger Stadium. Although Centenary's football team was disbanded in 1948, these "Ladies" and "Gents" still believe that have some claim to bragging rights with LSU.

One of the last times the two teams met on the gridiron, Centenary came away with a win over Biff Jones' Tigers.

On Nov. 12, 1932, then Sen. Huey Long led his Fighting Tigers to Shreveport to take on Centenary. At the time, the Gents were among the top programs in the nation. Centenary owned wins over Texas and Notre Dame in the early portion of the 20th century, but Sen. Long guaranteed a victory traveling to Shreveport to see the Gents undefeated season come to an end.

When the dust settled, Centenary earned a 6-0 victory. The following season, the Gents played LSU to a 0-0 tie in Tiger Stadium, the final meeting between the two schools.

Over a decade later, the Centenary football program was dissolved as the board of directors felt "football was cutting into the college's" academic budget.

While holding onto a 73-year-old football win may seem a bit of a stretch, that victory, along with a 6-1 win over the Tiger baseball team last March in Shreveport, has given the Gents a reason to celebrate.

Carla Alsandor, Director of Alumni Programs and 2004 graduate of Centenary, helped organize this event over a year ago. She said she wanted the graduates to reunite with some of their fellow alumni and meet other former students who graduated at different times.

"We thought it would be fun to get together and give people a chance to connect with each other," Alsandor said.

The tailgating party was originally planned to be held outside the Arizona State game, but because that game was moved to Tempe, the next best date was the North Texas game.

Although celebrating football may be a bit soon for some people displaced by Hurricane Katrina, Alsandor wanted to bring the Centenary community together to share stories and have a good time.

Charles Grub, President of the National Alumni Association and 1968 graduate of Centenary, said athletics is an effective way to bring people together and have a good time.

"Katrina has obviously disrupted our alumni like it has everyone else's lives, and we thought that this would be a nice way to touch base with the people from New Orleans and Baton Rouge and have fun with them and have the football game as a draw to get us all together. It's worked out great for us," Grub said.

He estimated that there are several hundred Centenary alumni working in southeast Louisiana, and bringing many of them together has helped to ease some of the stress caused by Hurricane Katrina.

Even though Centenary and LSU are rivals in other sports, Alsandor insists that they are not trying to create a football tailgating competition with LSU. She said the fact that Centenary no longer has a football team is one important reason why their alumni cannot start a football rivalry with the Tigers.

"They're just proud of their college and want to help create more exposure about Centenary College. It's in no way meant to be a competition with LSU," she said.

In fact, many of the alumni traded their crimson colors for purple and gold on this day. Everybody was an LSU fan, at least for this game.

Krystil Garrett, a law student at LSU and a 2003 graduate at Centenary, said the biggest difference between the two schools is the tailgating. She said the atmosphere outside of LSU football games reminded her of Mardi Gras.

"It's a big party and a lot of fun," Garrett said. "Everybody's really friendly."

Although she graduated only two years ago from Centenary, Garrett enjoys the alumni activities because of the range of graduates present.

"You get to meet a lot of new people that you did not necessarily go to school with but you have a connection with them," Garrett said.

Centenary has alumni chapters throughout Louisiana and the Gulf Coast, and these chapters host a variety of get-togethers throughout the year such as holiday receptions and crawfish boils. This party, however, marks the first time they have used tailgating to bring graduates together.

Alsandor said with the success of this year, the alumni hope to continue this tradition every year.

"We want to give our Centenary alumni an opportunity to enjoy the camaraderie of their fellow graduate," she said.

Alsandor and her fellow alumni plan to come back down to Baton Rouge in February when the Tigers host the Gents in baseball. Not only will they be able to have another reunion, but they will also be able to cheer on their own school.

"We just want to keep our folks connected with each other, and connected with the school," Alsandor said.

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