Over the weekend, I went to visit my boyfriend while he was training for a job in San Francisco. It just so happened that on that Saturday our alma mater, LSU, was going up against one of the most reviled teams in the SEC, Alabama. It’s a big game that I never miss and this year would be no exception. We had no clue where to watch the game and had planned on getting take out and watching it in the hotel room. That planned changed when I discovered that San Francisco has its very own LSU Alumni chapter!
We checked their Facebook page and found out that the chapter gathers at a local bar for all the games. Also, a very generous alumna had funded catering for the game and we would be treated to red beans and rice and po’boys. Upon arriving at the bar, Northstar Café, we were greeted by two people decked out in LSU and Saints gear serving up some delicious Southern classics. We got inside and were immediately given purple and gold “Beat Bama” coozies and found a spot at the bar right in front of a flat screen TV. Posters were advertising Abita Purple Haze drink specials and we were given water in plastic purple and gold “Beat Bama” cups.
After settling down with some red beans and ordering my first Purple Haze, I noticed the bar had started to fill up. About half an hour from kick-off it was standing room only and we were packed in like Bourbon Street on Mardi Gras day. Everyone was decked out in purple and gold and posters with “Geaux Tigers!” hung behind the bar. We spent the game making friends with those around us, talking to the bartenders and exchanging stories about Katrina, high school and tailgates with other alumni. We high-fived strangers and took “Tiger Claw” shots on every touchdown. We screamed, we chanted, we sang the fight song. We booed the rogue Alabama fans that came by to rile us up and the bartenders even got in on it, too. We sat in disbelief during the second half as Alabama made the most unfortunate comeback and cinched the W yet again.
I know the game didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to, but I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t one of the best tailgates I’ve been to in years. Being around so many people in the middle of San Francisco who have such a love for my home and my Tigers was one of the greatest feelings in the world. I couldn’t believe how many transplants there were just in that one city. It just goes to show you that we, the LSU alumni, are everywhere. If you look hard enough, you might just find a little Southern comfort in the most unexpected place.