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Bayou Classic
Bayou Classic
Bayou Classic

Ultimate Guide to Bayou Classic

This HBCU Football Rivalry returns Thanksgiving Weekend

What is Bayou Classic? 

It started out as a simple football game between two rival, historically Black universities and now, more than four decades later, it has morphed into a citywide celebration. Southern University and Grambling State meet each other every November for a football game and battle of the bands over Thanksgiving weekend. With the exception of a few years, the game and surrounding events have been held in New Orleans since its inception in 1974, and the series win record is currently at 25-24, following the Jaguars' win in 2022.

Cheryl Gerber
Bayou Classic Band

When is Bayou Classic? 

Bayou Classic spans Thanksgiving weekend, November 23-25, 2023.

What are the events? 

The big Bayou Classic football game will take place in Caesars Superdome on Saturday, November 25. The Battle of the Bands and Greek Show will be held in the Superdome on Friday, November 24. These are the only two ticketed events; there is also a fan festival, a parade on Thanksgiving Day, and lots of other fanfare surrounding the weekend. See here for a list of events. 

When should I book my flight/hotel for Bayou Classic? 

November is a busy time for New Orleans, so it’s recommended to make your travel plans as soon as possible. Bayou Classic is always on Thanksgiving weekend, after all! 

Where should I stay? 

Stay in downtown New Orleans or the French Quarter for easy access to Bayou Classic festivities. Browse our hotel page and book directly on our website, with the Hyatt Regency and Hyatt House being the official host hotels for Southern University and the Hilton Riverside being the official host hotel for Grambling alumni.  


Is Bayou Classic family-friendly? 

Yes! Bayou Classic is an all-ages event and fun for the whole family. Bring the kids to the football game, battle of the bands, and several other events for a weekend they won’t forget. 

When can I buy tickets? 

Tickets for Bayou Classic go on sale closer to the game and can be purchased through Ticketmaster via the event's website.

How will the weather be? 

November is the perfect month to visit New Orleans, with favorable, mild temperatures, and lots of sunshine. Expect a low of 53°F and a high of 72°F. A light jacket at night will keep you plenty warm.  

What should I do outside of Bayou Classic?

Bayou Classic is much more than a football game; it’s a celebration of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Patronize New Orleans’ Black-owned businesses during your visit. In town for Thanksgiving? Find a restaurant here and make a reservation for a meal you won’t forget. Stroll the French Quarter in the beautiful fall weather and go shopping. If it’s your first time in New Orleans, check out our guide for those new to the city here.