New Orleans History -- Lake Pontchartrain
Saturday, October 21, 2017
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1931 First Night Game Played at Tiger Stadium

In 1930, LSU Athletic Director “Skipper” Heard was having serious scheduling problems. To overcome conflicts with Tulane and Loyola, Heard came up with the novel idea of playing games on Saturday nights. The second, and, no doubt, major reason nighttime games became a reality revolved around the supportive university alumni, especially those who gave not only their financial but moral support to the athletic department. Many of them were involved in agricultural endeavors and unable to attend games played during the working day on Saturday. Therefore, nighttime games became a reality.

The first night game was played Oct. 3, 1931, against Spring Hill College. Seventy-five hundred fans, including many in the agriculture industry, cheered the Tigers on to a lopsided 35-0 victory. As the adage goes, for every action there is inevitably a reaction. In the case of LSU nighttime football, it became tougher and tougher to schedule teams to play at night without agreeing to a hefty financial guarantee.

In spite of the problems, the new venture was apparently the right one for the Tigers. By 1933 the Tigers had become a team to be reckoned with. You might say they left their competition in the dark. That year they scored 176 points and their opponents 27. In the 10 games played, no opposing team scored more than one touchdown. The Tigers went undefeated with seven wins and three ties.

A man who played a big part in LSU’s successful venture into nighttime football was Huey Long. As newspaper writers explained, he embraced LSU football with alarming intensity. Huey was untiring in his search for talented players. He became a major recruiter for the team he adopted.

With his silver tongue and unequaled charm, he usually got the recruits he went after, including quarterback Abe Mickal. He was so pleased with Mickal’s performance on the field he had the Louisiana Legislature declare Abe a Louisiana senator. This unorthodox move caused the team problems by giving the opposing teams psychological ammunition to use against them. Instead of making all LSU football players Louisiana senators like Huey had planned, “Senator” Abe Mickal’s name was taken down at the state capitol.

At the end of 1934, Huey made a trip to the Blue Room at the Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans. He informed the orchestra leader Castro Carazo, that he had been fired by the Roosevelt and “... I have hired you. You are the new band director at LSU. Be on the campus tomorrow morning!” In short order, the 200-member LSU band became the largest and most colorful in the country. Of course, on many occasions, Huey was out front leading the band.

Source: Buddy Stall at http://clarionherald.org/19990930/stall.htm