Many New Orleans-area travelers who drove to Louis Armstrong International Airport before their flights this weekend found no place to park their cars.
Seasoned fliers accustomed to easy parking in the airport’s lots created traffic snarls as they drove around looking for spots, often in vain.
Melanie Murr, who was on her way to Wisconsin from Baton Rouge, posted a beet-red, frowning emoji next to her Friday social-media post: “When you are rushing to catch a flight at MSY and literally every parking space is full and they are sending people to the employee lot.”
An airport spokeswoman pointed to Twitter and Facebook posts from the airport warning that parking had unexpectedly reached capacity.
“It’s Labor Day Weekend and that means lots of people are flying out,” one notice from the airport read. “Limited parking available, not all options available at all times.”
Later notices spelled it out more clearly, basically advising travelers to leave their cars at home. “Please use alternate transportation to avoid parking delays and congestion,” one read. “Parking at and near the airport is very limited.”
Sharon St. Pierre, of Galliano, who was booked on a flight to New York on Saturday, tapped out a digital response that contended that the airport was understating the problem. “Parking is not limited, IT’S NOT AVAILABLE at all ... missed our flight due to no available parking,” she wrote.
To St. Pierre, the reason was obvious: “LSU fans filled the parking lots!”
Airport employees and would-be travelers alike described lots that had been filled with purple and gold all week, as thousands of LSU football fans drove to the airport — and parked — before catching both regularly scheduled commercial flights and special charters to Wisconsin created especially for Tiger fans.
More than 30,000 LSU fans were expected to fill up almost half the seats in historic Lambeau Field in Green Bay for the Tigers’ season-opening game Saturday afternoon against the Wisconsin Badgers.
Another 20,000 to 30,000 were expected in the tailgating area, according to Wisconsin tourism officials, who told reporters last week that hotels in the Green Bay area were sold out and hotels in other nearby areas had few vacancies left.
Some LSU fans have been planning this for two years.
Beyond the draw of a season opener, temperatures in the 70s and a seat in fabled Lambeau Field, some people told reporters covering the game that Louisiana fans who had been through the recent flooding felt a special need to put the disaster behind them for a weekend and support their beloved Tigers.
As Tiger superfan Marvin “The Big Ragoo” Dugas told the Chicago Tribune, fans flocking to Green Bay wanted to “show the country we are resilient. We are down but not out,” he said.
Unfortunately, the Tigers lost.
GREEN BAY, Wis. — They are who LSU players thought they were.