Baton Rouge, La. - The 50th Annual Bayou Classic, the pinnacle of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) matchups, commenced in New Orleans with a dynamic kick-off news conference on Monday, Nov. 20, inside the Caesars Superdome.
The Bayou Classic, an annual extravaganza, brings together Southern University and Grambling State University fans, supporters, and alums each November. This celebration of football, family, and HBCU traditions spans the Thanksgiving holiday and weekend.
Last year's Classic saw Southern University emerge victorious with a final score of 34-17 over Grambling. The Jaguars now boast 25 Bayou Classic wins, while Grambling has secured 24 series victories.
The kick-off news conference set the stage for a series of events, with the Thanksgiving Day Parade taking a prominent spot. Starting at 3 pm on Thanksgiving afternoon, the parade follows a new downtown route, beginning at the Caesars Superdome and winding through Poydras, S. Peters, Canal, St. Charles, and Loyola streets.
The Bayou Classic Invitational High School Battle of the Bands, a highlight from last year, returns to amplify the excitement. Incorporating this event into the Friday night lineup, the second annual Battle of the Bands will feature six of New Orleans' top high school marching bands competing for music education prizes and trophies.
The Bayou Classic Fan Fest, starting at 9 a.m., will warm up Champion Square with live musical performances and family-friendly activities from sponsors like P&G, Coca-Cola, and Wells Fargo.
Entergy presents the pre-game ceremonies, including a rendition of "Lift Every Voice and Sing," often called "The Black National Anthem," and the National Anthem performed by Anthony Hamilton and The Ton3s.
The Bayou Classic Gameday Kickoff is scheduled for 1 pm CST, with the Halftime Show presented by The Coca-Cola Company promising electrifying performances.
According to a nationwide poll, the Bayou Classic has secured its place among America's Most Cherished Thanksgiving Traditions.
With over 250,000 annual visitors, the Bayou Classic significantly impacts New Orleans' hotel occupancy, reaching over 90% citywide.
The 50th Annual Bayou Classic, Presented by Procter & Gamble, will be televised on NBC National, continuing the tradition of national television coverage since 1991.
Tickets for the 50th Annual Bayou Classic and associated events are available at various locations, offering fans an opportunity to be part of this historic celebration.
In collaboration with Gus Willey Apparel, Grambling State University and Southern University present a captivating line of commemorative merchandise, showcasing the unique identities of both institutions.
As the Bayou Classic unfolds, it promises to be a milestone celebration of tradition, competition, and the enduring spirit of HBCUs.