Dressed in fleur-de-lis onesies and propped up in front of the game or wheeled out to the family’s purple and gold tailgating party, Louisiana youngsters learn early to cheer for their teams.
And when they’re old enough, New Orleans football fans have plenty of opportunities to embrace the traditions and excitement of the game.
Learning to play is one sure-fire way of developing a lifelong appreciation for the skills and strategy of football. A year-round league at Playmakers Indoor Sports Center in Harahan gives children a taste of the big-time experience.
“The kids enjoy it because they feel like they are playing in the Superdome,” said John Freitas, organizer of NFL Flag Football at Playmakers Indoor Sports Center. “For them, the field is so big. With the turf and bright lights — the kids have a lot of fun.”
NFL Flag Football has leagues that run throughout the year for children ages 5 to 13 years old at the Sports Center, a year-round, air-conditioned sports complex, 6124 Jefferson Highway, Harahan.
The league is a six-on-six version of the game; with six players per team on the field at a time. Players can sign up as a team with their friends, or the center will put teams together.
The fall league kicks off Sept. 14, with games every Sunday, starting at 8 a.m. and running through the afternoon. Registration closes Sept. 9. The fee of $100 per player includes a reversible jersey, the flag football belt and playing at least eight games.
For families who prefer to cheer from the sidelines, college teams and the New Orleans Saints will be hosting their first home games for the season this month, with their usual fanfare.
Tulane University will unveil its new, 30,000-seat stadium with a bang, fireworks included.
“Our ‘Yell for Yulman’ is really the opening pep rally in terms of the Yulman Stadium,” said Barbara Burke, deputy athletic director for Tulane University.
“The football team and Coach (Curtis) Johnson will make an appearance. There will be a lot of different activities, giveaways of commemorative items and a fireworks display in the evening,” Burke said.
The marching band and cheerleaders will be on hand to add some college football pomp.
The celebration continues with tailgating at Tulane’s first home game against Georgia Tech Saturday, Sept. 6. The picnic starts at 11 a.m. in anticipation of the 3 p.m. kick-off.
“On game day, we have tailgating in the Yulman Quad. You can grill and have a great time. We have a family fun zone that will have all kinds of activities for children. It will be a great day for the family to come out and enjoy the Tulane campus,” Burke said.
The Green Wave will be back at Yulman Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 13, at 7 p.m. as the team takes on Southeastern Louisiana.
For activities and game schedules, visit www.yulmanstadium.com.
The pregame party at Champions Square will open at 5 p.m. for Thursday’s New Orleans Saints vs. Baltimore Ravens preseason game in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Kickoff for the game is at 7 p.m. Rebirth Brass Band will play and there will be five food trucks in the square.
The LSU Tigers are hosting four home games at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge in September against Sam Houston State, University of Louisiana at Monroe, Mississippi State and New Mexico State.
Renowned for tailgating parties and live pre-game entertainment outside the Tiger cage, LSU makes it easy to be swept up in the purple-and-gold madness.
NFL Flag Football at Playmakers Indoor Sports Center
www.playmakersindoor.com or (504) 701-4417.
Tulane Green Wave Football
“Yell for Yulman” pep rally Friday, Sept. 5, at 5 p.m., featuring live music, free food and soft drinks and a fireworks display, plus appearances by the football team, the Tulane Marching Band and cheerleaders. www.yulmanstadium.com/home.
The LSU Tigers host four home games at Tiger Stadium throughout September: vs. Sam Houston State, UL-Monroe, Mississippi State and New Mexico State. www.lsusports.net.
New Orleans Saints
Rebirth Brass Band will play, and food trucks will sell treats in Champions Square, 5 p.m. Thursday before the Saints play the Baltimore Ravens in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.