How to Pack for Your Louisiana Tailgate

Here’s what to bring to score points at your pre-game party

LSU football tailgating food and party

The pregame tailgate party is almost as important as the game in Louisiana

Bulldog Village at Louisiana Tech University

Tailgating in Bulldog Village at Louisiana Tech University

Students playing cornhole at Southeastern Louisiana University

Students playing cornhole at Southeastern Louisiana University

Maybe you’re coming to cheer on the NFL’s New Orleans Saints or the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans. Perhaps you’re returning to your alma mater for a game at LSU, Tulane, Louisiana Tech, Grambling or McNeese State. Or do you just love a good tailgate, no matter the team or sport?

From professional stadiums and collegiate campuses to hockey, soccer, rugby, roller derby and more, there are plenty of reasons to plan a rocking parking lot party throughout Louisiana.

When fall comes around, there’s no better way to spend quality hang time with family and friends, so here are a few essential items to make your tailgate go off without a hitch.

Tailgate Setup

  • Portable Table & Chairs: Unless you’re planning an abbreviated drinks-only tailgate just a short time before kickoff, seating is essential. A foldable table or two will hold your spread of food and collapsible camp chairs will provide a place to rest between grazing and playing throughout the day.
  • Pop-up Tent or Canopy: You can spot serious tailgaters by their seriously decked-out areas – and that often includes a pop-up tent or canopy. The portable varieties don’t take up much space in your trunk, yet still, provide valuable protection from the elements.
  • Game-Day Music: No party is complete without music and running your car’s radio all day may run down your battery. Be sure to bring a separate music source and a portable speaker to keep the good tunes going all day.
  • Tailgate Games: Playing games isn’t only fun, it helps pass the time while you’re waiting for kickoff. Outdoor games like corn hole and ladder golf are big hits – and be sure to bring a football to pass, of course.
  • Plenty of Team Spirit: From the clothes you wear to the tablecloth you use to the flags, banners and other décor that can spruce up your tailgate, show your team spirit (and colors!) as much as you can.

Tailgate Food & Drink

  • Food & Drinks: Just as important as the game itself is what you’re going to munch and sip on beforehand. Grilled meat, beer and other all-American snacks like wings, chips and dips are usually at the top of that list, but here in Louisiana you'll find tailgating krewes serving up jambalaya, etouffee, boudin and other Cajun classics. Don’t forget koozies to keep your drinks and your mouth cool after all that spicy fare.
  • Plates & Condiments: You’ll likely not find a convenience store near the field, so think ahead about all of the items you’ll need to feed your krewe. Plates, cups, napkins, eating and cooking utensils, a bottle opener, corkscrew and condiments like salt, pepper and hot sauce. Then there’s mustard, relish, horseradish, salsa, sour cream, barbecue sauce, whew! Ask folks to bring some of these items to help you out.
  • Cooler & Ice: During warm-weather games, you’ll need to keep that beer, soda, water and some perishable food iced down, plus you’ll want additional ice for mixed drinks if those are on tap. As drinks disappear, your cooler also offers valuable space to store leftovers for pulling out post-game. 
  • Grill & Accessories: If you are grilling burgers, hot dogs, ribs or what have you, you’ll definitely need a – wait for it – grill, along with the necessary propane, charcoal, lighter and/or matches to keep it going.

Tailgate Cleanup

  • Trash & Recycling Bags: Your disposable plates, napkins, food packages, drink cans and such are going to pile up, and parking lot trashcans (if even available) may runneth over. Take your own trash and recycling bags and be prepared to haul them out with you after the game, unless the stadium or lot you’re in offers trash pickup after the event.
  • Paper Towels & Sanitizing Wipes: Save those nice team-colored napkins for eating and have plenty of basic paper towels and wipes to clean up the table, utensils and other items you’ll be packing back up.
  • Food Storage & Containers: You’ll likely have some tasty food left over – and tossing it would be a crime. Be sure to bring aluminum foil, plastic wrap and plastic containers so you can store them in that icy cooler mentioned above to nosh on after the game.

Tailgate Safety

  • Fire Prevention & First Aid: Not to alarm you, but accidents happen – and you will have hot grills and cold beer all around you. Be sure to keep a working fire extinguisher on hand, along with a basic first aid kit with bandages, antibacterial gel, burn lotion and pain relievers.
  • Sun & Rain Protection: Going to be playing corn hole for hours in the blazing sun? Bring your hat, sunglasses and sunscreen. Precipitation in the forecast? Bring a hat, umbrella or – preferably – a raincoat or poncho you can also wear to the game.
  • Safety Tools: The last thing you want to do is come back to the car after a long day of revelry and find it won’t start. Be sure to throw jumper cables and a flashlight in the trunk, just in case.

Game Necessities

  • Comfort Items: If they’ll help make your game-watching experience more enjoyable, tote in stadium seatback chairs, cushions or blankets to keep your back (and back-side) comfortable and your front-side warm.
  • Tickets: You brought them, right?

Ready to put these essential items to good use? Plan your next Louisiana football tailgate with even more tailgating tips.