Geaux Wild with Baton Rouge’s LSU Tigers

Louisiana’s capital city is home to two types of tigers the first of which are wild, predatory animals, hungry to break loose and devour helpless prey; the others reside at the Baton Rouge Zoo (spare Mike the Tiger, who lives on the Louisiana State University campus).
See the LSU Tigers in action at the LSU stadium in Baton Rouge

Today, we are going to examine the LSU Tiger.  LSU tigers can be discerned from other tiger species based on their coloring, their roars, and their diet.  We will also discuss how you can interact with the LSU Tigers in their native Baton Rouge.

How to spot a tiger

While most tigers are four-legged, orange or white, and feature black stripes, LSU Tigers stand on two feet and are further distinguishable by their royal purple and gold coloring.  The largest population of LSU Tigers is in Louisiana, specifically in Baton Rouge localized on the LSU campus; however, for years, LSU Tigers have been migrating all over the world.  They are easiest to spot during the season following the fall equinox, which is also known as “football season.”

Interlopers into the LSU Tigers primary environment should be mindful that the tigers become excitable when participating in a ritual known as “tailgating” and that they are downright primal when released into their den, LSU football stadium, Death Valley.

Hear the LSU marching band and see LSU Tigers in action in Baton Rouge, LA

I am Tiger, hear me geaux roar

Another distinguishing characteristic of the LSU Tigers is their roar.  The most well-known, of course is Geaux Tigers, which is pronounced “Go Tigers”, but it is distinct due to the spelling and the accent of the chant.
This may be confusing to outsiders as one out-of-towner was once overheard inquiring to his companion, “Gee-aux tigers? What’s gee-aux tigers?” as they walked into an uncertain fate in Death Valley.  If visiting the LSU Tigers, it is best to try to imitate their roar appropriately as to not enrage them.

An LSU Tiger’s diet

Perhaps one of the most important distinctions of an LSU Tiger is their diet and their willingness to share a meal.  Before a romp in Death Valley, LSU Tigers satiate their appetites whilst tailgating.

LSU Tigers spend hours and sometimes days preparing cuisine indigenous to Louisiana like chicken and Andouille gumbo, red beans and rice, and jambalaya.  You can also find cochon de lait, Cajun omelets, and crab boils during tailgating.

As a general rule, the older the tiger, the more evolved his or her pre-game cuisine. One local legend to look out for is Bite and Booze professional chef and food and beverage writer, Jay Ducote.  Jay can be spotted tailgating with his makeshift grill, a unique innovation that was once a keg; the 33 year-old tiger (and his gumbo recipe) was recently featured in Bon Appétit magazine in an article titled “Any Given Saturday: This is How You Tailgate in the American South,” which analyzes the tailgating rituals of the LSU Tigers and their greatest rival, the Mississippi State University Bulldogs, who, this year seem to be particularly ferocious (perhaps they’ve been provided higher quality pimento cheese sandwiches pregame?).

Despite the outward aggression affiliated with the pigskin rivalry (and I don’t mean who’s getting the last bite of the cochon de lait), these wild animals play rather nicely during meal times offering to share their delectables in a manner reminiscent of Kings and Queens entertaining foreign dignitaries of royal status as opposed to someone they will be shouting, “Geaux to Hell, Ole Miss” at mere hours following the feast.

Playing with the LSU Tigers

If you’re not a native southeasterner, then all of this fanfare might seem a little foreign and unnatural. Though the sport rivalries are real, and Brett Martin’s, the writer of the aforementioned Bon Appétit article, description of the LSU Tigers (“…a horde of screaming, barely civilized Visigoths, storming into the town to burn buildings and make jambalaya out of local virgins”) is rather accurate, that doesn’t mean they’ll harm you, gentle traveler.

In fact, if you wander into their domain, they will offer you their food, help you understand their culture and rituals, and invite you to make yourself at home.  For, despite being beasts of war when they storm Death Valley, the LSU Tigers are truly one of the most delightful wild animal encounters you will have while in Baton Rouge.

(Author’s note: LSU Tigers should not be kept as pets.  No LSU Tigers were harmed during the making of this post).

If you’re planning a trip to Baton Rouge, you simply must see the LSU Tigers, visit the amazing LSU campus, and indulge in local tailgating fare.  Check out the LSU Sports website for the best times and dates to see the Tigers in their natural habitat.

LSU football stadium photo by Steve Franz; LSU marching band photo by David Gallant, both courtesy of Visit Baton Rouge

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