The 47th annual Bayou Classic featuring Grambling State and Southern University will be held in Shreveport, Louisiana, at Independence Stadium.
Officials representing Grambling State, Southern University, and the City of Shreveport were present for a Monday press conference held at Independence Stadium to announce the event.
“We are excited to host the Classic and welcome students, alum, and fans from both Grambling and Southern to Shreveport, Louisiana,” said Mayor Adrian Perkins. “The Bayou Classic is an annual extravaganza of two great universities and a celebration of football, family, and a tradition surrounding two of the greatest marching bands in the world.”
The football game, scheduled for Saturday, April 17, 2021, will likely include a host of related events beginning earlier in the week.
“We plan on coming to Shreveport, enjoying ourselves, and taking in the warmness of this community, said Southern University President-Chancellor Ray Belton. “But certainly we are coming here with a purpose. And that is to represent Southern University to maintain our rightful place as competitors within the SWAC.”
An event that has become a staple for New Orleans since 1974 is being moved to Shreveport because the Bayou Classic event dates conflict with a multiyear renovation project scheduled for the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. According to the Superdome website, “heavy” construction will occur through the year 2024 during the football off-season months.
“This Bayou Classic is just so amazing. This event is so amazing. It needs to be in Louisiana,” said GSU head coach Broderick Fobbs. “We crossed Lousiana boundaries and went over to Texas to play this game. The shrimp didn’t taste the same. The catfish didn’t taste the same.”
Not your typical Bayou Classic
There are a couple of factors that will make the 47th Bayou Classic different from previous editions.
This particular installment will be played in a location other than New Orleans for the first time since 2005, when the event was moved to Houston due to damage caused by Hurricane Katrina.
Because of coronavirus concerns, NOCCI (New Orleans Convention Company, Inc), the event’s organizer announced the Bayou Classic’s postponement in July after the SWAC announced it had postponed all fall sports until the spring of 2021.
“I think with everything going on with the COVID-19 pandemic, there was no way that we felt we could play a fall season safely, said Grambling State University President Rick Gallot. “It was only after consultation among the president of the Southwestern Athletic Conference that we were very confident that we were making the right decision to postpone our fall sports until the spring.”