The Louisiana-Lafayette football team’s bus made an unexpected but welcome pit stop on the way from Lafayette to New Orleans.
Senior defensive back Corey Trim got off the bus at the Highland Road exit in Baton Rouge, subsequently got in his father’s car and drove to the hospital where his fiancé was in labor.
“His fiancé is fixing to have their first (child), so we had to stop the bus to let him off so he could head to the hospital to be with them,” said coach Mark Hudspeth. “It’s an exciting time for him.”
Hudspeth said he expects Trim to rejoin the team in New Orleans Wednesday.
Trim’s fiancé wasn’t expected to deliver the child for another couple days, so the news required a little coordinating and maneuvering on Trim’s part. Trim’s father was waiting in the getaway vehicle on the interstate exit, and the team bus wasn’t stopped long.
“We pulled off on an exit and he had his father meet us at the exit,” Hudspeth said. “We opened the door, kicked him out, waved at him as we pulled off.
“He said that’s all he needed, so the caravan kept rolling.”
Trim isn’t the only person on the team who welcomed a new addition to the family recently. Hudspeth’s wife, Tyla, gave birth a little more than a month ago.
The 46-year-old Hudspeth is confident the 22-year-old Trim will bounce back faster than he did.
“I did it five weeks ago,” Hudspeth said. “I’ve got it down right now, but I tell you it’s a lot harder when you’re older. I’m playing a young man’s game right now with this five (week) old.”
As of Monday evening, athletic director Scott Farmer said the school had sold 11,437 tickets from its allotment for Saturday’s New Orleans Bowl.
That number is down a bit from recent years, but it’s likely not fully representative of how many fans will show.
The New Orleans Bowl set attendance records last year with more than 55,000 people on hand to watch the Cajuns beat Tulane, 24-21. Farmer said the total amount of tickets sold between the two schools only accounted for roughly 60 percent of that 55,000 total.
“That leaves a pretty large number that came and bought it here in town or had ticket access locally,” Farmer said.
The last-minute approach is typical of events in New Orleans, said New Orleans Bowl Executive Director Billy Ferrante, who is estimating a crowd of about 40,000 based on what he’s seen via online ticket marketplace Ticketmaster.
“This is a crazy last-minute town, and people know they can get good tickets at the last minute, so I expect a good walk-up,” Ferrante said.
Ferrante expects that the ticket demand is slower this year because of the 10 a.m. kickoff time. The bowl toyed around with the idea of pursuing a later time slot but would have been competing head-to-head with NFL games.
“ESPN likes us on the Saturday night, but the Saints at noon (on Sunday) impacted that,” Ferrante said. “I would have liked that second time slot if it had been left up to us. The NFL has 3:15 and 7 p.m. games (Saturday), and it’s probably good not to go up against them.”
With rain in the forecast for Friday night, the New Orleans Bowl Friday Night Concert will take place inside the Smoothie King Center instead of Champions Square, where it was originally set to take place.
The concert is free to the public, begins at 7 p.m. and will feature Kool and the Gang and Cheap Trick.
Dan McDonald contributed to this report.