As a proud Southern University graduate, returning to our alma mater was a journey filled with nostalgia and pride. In November 2023, my wife Estraletta and I embarked on this memorable trip with Dr. Rev. Lawrence Kirk and his wife Beverly, fulfilling a bucket list dream for them. Estraletta and I bleed Southern University’s colors, having graduated in 1989 in Civil and Mechanical Engineering, respectively.
Our journey began with a heartwarming stop in my hometown, Shreveport, where we met the Kirks. From there, we traveled to Southern University, which holds our cherished memories and symbolizes a significant step in elevating our family legacy. Our visit included a grand campus tour, where the university’s spirit was profound in every corner. Many stop at Tony’s Seafood and Market. It is a cafeteria style restaurant, with my sitting. Had our lunch in the grocery store parking lot. It shocked the Kirks. But—that’s part of the Louisiana magic!
A highlight was visiting the bookstore, where I reunited with my former classmate, Howard White. Once a fellow mechanical engineering student, Howard became a successful entrepreneur; He is the owner of Top Choice near Southern University. We reminisced about our student days and discussed the book we co-authored, a testament to the enduring bonds formed at Southern.
This trip was more than a walk down memory lane; it reaffirmed the pride and sense of accomplishment that Southern University instills in its graduates. It was a reminder of how our black college experience has been instrumental in shaping not just our careers but our very identities.
The Bayou Classic, a beacon of black college excellence, unfolded its 50th chapter in a spectacular display of talent, culture, and spirited competition. This annual college football classic, a storied rivalry between Grambling State University Tigers and Southern University Jaguars, has been a highlight since its inception in 1974, continuing a tradition that began in 1932. Held in the vibrant city of New Orleans, the Bayou Classic is more than a game; it’s a cultural festival celebrating the black community’s heritage, talent, and spirit.
In 2023, the Bayou Classic was a celebration and a triumphant moment for Southern University. Our Jaguars won the Battle of the Bands on Friday, a testament to our musicians’ unmatched talent and energy. The band’s performance was a mesmerizing blend of music, choreography, and sheer charisma, winning the hearts of everyone present.
The pinnacle of excitement came with the November 25, 2023 football game. In an exhilarating match that kept everyone on the edge of their seats, Southern University emerged victorious with a score of 27-22 against Grambling State. The game, broadcast nationally on NBC, was a thriller showcasing our players’ athleticism, strategy, and heart. Winning the Battle of the Bands and the football game was a proud moment for all Southern University associates.
The Bayou Classic embodies the pride and unity within the black community. It’s not just about the rivalry; it’s about coming together to celebrate our achievements, culture, and enduring spirit. The event symbolizes a legacy of excellence, where the trophy awarded to the winning school represents much more than a victory in sports – it tells the triumph of our community’s spirit and the enduring legacy of our institutions.
As the dean of Langston University, I see the Bayou Classic as an inspiring beacon for all aspiring students and a proud example of the richness of the black college experience. Sharing this story of triumph and unity, I hope to inspire future generations to partake in and contribute to this magnificent tradition. The Bayou Classic is a testament to our community’s strength, talent, and unwavering pride. Let’s continue to celebrate and uplift this extraordinary legacy!