SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Shreveport city leaders shared details Thursday about Port City Fest activities and events planned for the weekend of the Bayou Classic coming up in April, including a slate of live entertainment at Festival Plaza and a COVID-19 management plan.
“It’s not only a win for fans, but an even bigger win for our local economy and our tourism industry, hit hard by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” said Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins. “I can assure you we are working with all of our Port City Fest partners to follow CDC guidelines for COVID-19 and to ensure the safety of all attendees, we are mandating that masks must be worn at all events for the Port City Fest, along with COVID crowd managers to maintain social distancing guidelines.”
The 47th annual matchup between Grambling State University and Southern University is set for kickoff at 1:30 p.m Saturday, April 17 at Independence Stadium in Shreveport. It was initially postponed to the spring of 2021 after SWAC announced the postponement of football in July 2020 due to the pandemic and later moved to Shreveport because of renovation work at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
At the time, Bayou Classic organizers said the plan was to replicate activities and events leading up to the game. The goal is to keep the same vibe as if the game were being held in New Orleans.
Tickets are limited and on sale at mybayouclassic.com as well as at both university ticket offices. All tickets must be purchased in advance. Just like it is every year, the game will be televised.
Port City Fest events include a three-day Party on the Red April 15 – 17 at Festival Plaza featuring food and all-day entertainment, a Mayor’s Golf Invitational Tournament that will benefit scholarships for students attending Grambling State University and Southern University and a Port City Fan Fest experience on the morning of the game.
Crowd managers will be present at every event with masks on hand and temperatures will be checked on entering Festival Plaza, where masks will be required.
The Shreveport-Bossier African American Chamber of Commerce will also be presenting a Classic Expo from Thursday, April 15 to Saturday, April 17 at the Shreveport Convention Center.
“The game alone, this big game, will have an impact between $2.3 and 4 million,” said Shreveport-Bossier Sports Commission Executive Director Kelly Wells. “That’s a direct impact. With all these ancillary events, that will only add to this multi-million-dollar impact, which is not only one of the largest sporting events in the state of Louisiana but also across our entire country.”
The city is also partnering with Shreveport Green for a COVID-19-conscious citywide cleanup on April 10 and inviting the public to join in the effort. Register online at ShreveportGreen.org.
The last time the game was played in Shreveport was in 1973. Grambling won 19-14. It was moved to New Orleans the next year and became the Bayou Classic.
The last time the Bayou Classic was not played in New Orleans was in 2005, due to Hurricane Katrina.
Southern won last year’s Bayou Classic 30-28.