'Church of the Tigers'
Wed., Nov. 14, 12:30 p.m.
In front of Tiger Stadium
Baton Rouge, La.
"To many people in Louisiana, this place is a temple. It's the mother church," John Ed Bradley says of Tiger Stadium.
He should know. Bradley grew up in nearby Opelousas and played football at LSU in the late '70s.
If it's the mother church, Tiger Stadium, aka Death Valley, is a very raucous one. It's considered one of the loudest places in college football.
Bradley's new book, It Never Rains in Tiger Stadium, is a lyrical memoir of his football-playing days. It's about his teammates, his coaches, his parents and the magnetic power of football in Louisiana.
But it's also about the stadium itself.
"Why is it so loud?" he asks as he stands outside the 92,000-seat colossus of a building. "It's the weight of the sky, the density of the air here. It's really louder than anywhere else. We have to blame the sky."
He's kidding ... I think.
Back when Bradley played, before they added thousands of seats and put in a new scoreboard, students lived in dorm rooms inside the stadium. Now it is office space used by the Athletics Department.
Bradley remembers how students would hang sheets from their windows with messages like "Beat Bama" and "Ole Miss Sucks." One day in 1977, right after Elvis Presley died, Bradley says, someone threw a window open, and you could hear a recording of "Heartbreak Hotel" playing in tribute.
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