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Check Out the Biggest FBS Programs in LA
College football fans are known to travel great distances to watch their favorite teams play. Whether they head to the next town over for the big rivalry game, or across the country for a bowl game, the passion is real. This drive tour will take you across Louisiana, stopping in cities from Minden to Baton Rouge, each with their own premier college football program.
Directly east of Minden is Louisiana Tech University. During the summer and into the fall, the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs play home football games at Joe Aillet Stadium – make the short drive in and experience the fierce college football action.
Minden is also home to a wealth of premier area attractions, ideal for when you want something to do before game day. Museums, parks, and historic areas help make Minden a must-see city.
Louisiana Tech University is the can't-miss attraction on this stop of the tour. The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs play football within Conference USA, and are a major draw for sports fans in the Minden and Ruston areas.
The La. Tech Bulldogs have been entertaining fans in the are since 1901, the year of their inaugural season. From 2001 through the 2012 season, the Bulldogs competed within the Western Athletic Conference. The Joe Aillet Stadium seats 28,019 fans on game day. Their season typically begins in late-August or early September.
Be sure to make some time for a tour of the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum in Minden. Preserving the 19th and 20th century history of northern Louisiana, the Dorcheat Historical Museum is found on Main Street just south of the Minden Medical Center.
Open to the public since 2008, this historical museum features a wealth of exhibits, artifacts, and attractions to view – there are many exhibits dedicated to Coca-Cola, as it was once bottled in Minden, and still to this day distributed from the city.
Make your travel plans into Minden for a day prior to the Bulldogs kickoff – you can enjoy some time exploring Lake Bistineau State Park. Spread across 7,450 acres, Lake Bistineau State Park has an array of hiking trails, mountain biking paths, and birding watching locations.
Your next stop on this college football road trip through Louisiana will be Monroe. The West Monroe and Monroe area yields exciting, football-filled days at the University of Louisiana at Monroe.
The ULM Warhaks football team plays home games at Malone Stadium. They compete within the Sun Belt Conference, a Division I-A conference.
You'll find the University of Louisiana at Monroe just minutes northeast of downtown. It's intersected by the Bayou DeSiard, and easily accessed from State Route 165.
The school itself is open to the public, and was established in 1931. The ULM Warhawks football team is just one of the 16 varsity-level teams the school fields. All home Warhawks football games are played at Malone Stadium, which is found at the center of campus off of Don Aire Drive and Warhawk Way.
As you explore West Monroe and Monroe, be sure to see all the ins and outs. Don't miss out on a visit to the Biedenharn Museum and Gardens. Opened in 1913, this excellent attraction is found along the Ouachita River, and the Forsyth Point Recreation Area. Tour the Coke Museum on the grounds, and be sure to spend some time at the Elsong Garden.
North of downtown Monroe is the Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge. Late summer and fall prove to be excellent times of year to visit Black Bayou Lake NWR. Across the nearly 4,200 acres, be sure to visit the Black Bayou Lake Environmental Education Center. The actual Black Bayou Lake body of water is around 1,600 acres in size.
From Monroe, you'll want to make your way to Natchitoches in the central region of the state. Enjoy the warm people, the pleasant and welcoming culture, and most of all, enjoy the college football.
Natchitoches is home to Northwestern State University. Known as the Demons, NSU is a Division I school who fields 12 varsity level teams. The NSU Demons football team don their classic purple and orange uniforms.
Established in 1884 as the Louisiana State Normal School, NSU, today, is the largest public university in Natchitoches. You won't want to miss out on the exciting NSU Demons football action during your stay – they play all home games at Harry Turpin Stadium.
The inaugural season of NSU Demons football was 1907. Come game day in Natchitoches, be one of the 15,971 fans who cheer on the demons. Keep an eye out for Vic the Demon, the official NSU mascot.
One of the area attractions you'll certain want to explore – especially for you sports fans – is the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame. Found just west of downtown, the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame is an ideal way to spend a few hours before the Demons kickoff. You'll find a wide range of exhibits, displays, and artifacts, all relating to local sports legends.
One of the most famous Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame inductees is Terry Bradshaw, the former Pittsburgh Steeler and four-time Super Bowl winner.
Because you'll be visiting Natchitoches during the fall, there are few better places to visit than Cane River Creole National Historical Park. Across the 200 acres at Cane River Creole NHP, be sure to explore the Louisiana African American Heritage Trail, and see as many of the 67 historic structures. Tours of the historic Oakland Plantation are available most days.
As you continue this college football tour of Louisiana, make your way further south into Lafayette. Aside from featuring some of the premier attractions in the state, Lafayette is also home to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
The Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns sport 16 varsity athletics teams, and compete within the Sun Belt Conference. Southern Louisiana is crazy for college football, and the Ragin' Cajuns are just one of the reasons as to why.
You'll find the Louisiana-Lafayette campus in downtown, adjacent to Girard Park along Johnston Street. Established in 1898, U of L at Lafayette is a public university whose presence in the area is always felt. Fans travel in from nearby Mansfield and Alexandria to cheer on the Ragin' Cajuns when they play football.
Head for Cajun Field, home of the Ragin' Cajuns football team, and check out a game. Cheer them on along with nearly 36,900 other fans on game day. Cajun Field is also known affectionately as "The Swamp."
As one of the oldest structures in the state, the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist is a sight to behold. Wherever you identify on the religion spectrum, this cathedral is well worth a visit, if only for the stunning architecture. It's easily one of the most identifiable landmarks in Cajun Country, with its stained glass windows and 14 Stations of the Cross.
Don't forget your clubs when you visit Lafayette – you'll want to play 18 gorgeous holes at the Wetlands Golf Course. This Frank Burandt-designed course plays to a par of 72, and features a max distance of 7,200 yards from the championship tees. Opened in 2006, Wetlands Golf Course consistently proves to be a top-flight choice for golfers visiting Lafayette – it's an ideal way to kickoff your stay, especially before the big game.
Continue on your college football tour of Louisiana with a stay in Baton Rouge. Head east along Interstate 10 from Lafayette, and you'll be there in fewer than 60 miles. Not only does Baton Rouge features many of the most famous attractions in LA, it's home to Louisiana State University.
LSU, because of their wide ranging success on the football field, has a broad fanbase reaching to all parts of the country. The LSU Tigers are sure to thrill and amaze when you catch a football game at Tiger Stadium, just south of downtown.
The LSU Tigers play within the Southeastern Conference – SEC – and have a long history of success, with a wealth of conference and national championship trophies lining their halls. You, too, can be one of the 102,321 screaming fans who show up every home game to cheer on the Tigers.
While you're in town for exciting LSU Tigers football, be sure to spend a little down time exploring Baton Rouge. At 125,000 square feet in size, the Shaw Center for the Arts is an ideal spot to catch a live performance. Opened in 2005, the Shaw Center for the Arts is also a fine arts museum, and can be found in downtown Baton Rouge on the banks of the Mississippi River between Convention Street and North Boulevard.
Within the Shaw Center for the Arts is the Manship Theatre, the 325-seat performance venue where you'll want to catch a show on your Baton Rouge stay.
Enjoy the fall foliage when you hike through the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area. One of the premier attractions in the state, the Atchafalaya NHA is directly west of downtown Baton Rouge. There are four distinct regions within Atchafalaya – Between 2 Rivers, Upper, Coastal Zone, and the Bayou Teche Corridor.
There's a wealth of outdoor fun to be had at Atchafalaya – swamp tours, hunting & fishing, bird watching, biking paths, and the Old Cypress Tour is a very popular via kayak. The college football season will bring you to Baton Rouge during the late summer, through the fall, or into the early parts of winter – all ideal times to explore Atchafalaya NHA.
Heading east along I-10 will bring you to the finale of your trip – New Orleans. Known for a rich and storied history, New Orleans is home to a wide range of must-see attractions. You'll want to make time to see as much as you can, but don't forget about the massive college football presence.
New Orleans is home to the University of New Orleans, and Tulane University, both of which feature impressive football programs. You'll enjoy twice the college football action as you wrap up this Louisiana College Football tour in NOLA.
Tulane University, founded in 1834, is a private institution, and was previously known as the Medical College of Louisiana. The Tulane University Green Wave field 17 varsity-level sports teams – the football team plays home games at Yulman Stadium. They compete within The American Conference. Keep an eye out for Riptide, the Green Wave's mascot.
Established in 1958, the University of New Orleans, often referred to as UNO, is a public school, and is found north of downtown along the shore of Lake Pontchartrain. The University of New Orleans Privateers football team plays all home games at Tad Gromely Stadium, and they compete within the Southland Conference. If you time it right, you'll most certainly be able to catch both the Green Wave and the Privateers play during your stay.
When you find yourself with a moment of downtime between football games, be sure to explore Jackson Square. Just one of the many excellent sites to see within the French Quarter, Jackson Square is named in honor of President Andrew Jackson, and features the iconic St. Louis Cathedral.
Many who visit Jackson Square enjoy touring the Presbytère Museum. There's certainly much to see and do in the way of college football, but don't miss out on some of the most impressive and important local history landmarks.
Jazz music, it can be argued, might just be the most symbolic form of art to spawn from New Orleans. The New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park celebrates and commemorates the roots of Jazz music, and how it's tied to New Orleans. This is another excellent way to spend the afternoon in New Orleans before the Green Wave kickoff.
This, too, is found within the French Quarter, and is one of the most excellent national historical parks in the country. You may not have Louis Armstrong or Jelly Roll Morton at the top of your playlist, but there's a wealth of knowledge to be gained on a visit to the New Orleans Jazz NHP.