Landrieu holds a keg nozzle for a LSU football fan as he does a “keg stand” at a tailgate party on campus before the football game on Sept. 20. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
BATON ROUGE, La. — Soon after arriving in Louisiana to cover the Senate race, Roll Call Associate Politics Editor Kyle Trygstad and I found out Republican challenger Rep. Bill Cassidy and Sen. Mary L. Landrieu would be campaigning at the massive alcohol-infused ritual that is Louisiana State University tailgating. With thousands of spirited football fans gathered for all day feasts on Cajun cuisine and every imaginable type of libation before the 6 p.m. kickoff of the LSU-Mississippi State game in Baton Rouge, I knew we were going to be witness to a spectacle with a high chance for the unexpected.
Thanks to the Southern hospitality of Fred and Lou of the Tequila Tigers tailgate crew, we were quickly invited into the fold when we arrived early at the first designated meeting spot on campus for Landrieu’s tour of the elaborate tailgate parties. Soon I spotted Landrieu’s entourage winding through the purple and yellow encampments. She moved quickly from group to group, saying hello, passing out campaign stickers, shaking hands and posing for photos. She even dared to approach what seemed like hostile territories, greeted with a chorus of boos or occasional shouts of, “Go back to Washington!”