Special greetings, deals planned to welcome S. Carolina fans
BATON ROUGE - When University of South Carolina fans arrive in Baton Rouge for this weekend's game against LSU, they'll find special greetings prepared to give them a warm Louisiana welcome.
The Convention and Visitor's Bureau said Lamar Advertising will use electronic billboards around Baton Rouge to display special welcoming messages to visitors from South Carolina. The Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport also ordered special banners to greet people flying in for the game. Uber said they would also offer free rides from the airport costing less than $20 for first-time Uber riders who use a special code, which will be displayed on signs at the airport.
WBRZ-TV also plans to include special messages during its gameday coverage to draw attention to the plight of South Carolina residents battling historic flooding and rainfall there.
The heavy rains are blamed for 19 deaths so far and potentially more than one billion dollars in damages. Around 35 dams are being monitored by emergency managers, who said 11 dams have been breached so far because of high water levels. Gov. Nikki Haley urged residents in coastal areas to evacuate Thursday as that storm water flows downstream toward the coast.
John Spain with the Baton Rouge Area Foundation told tourism officials he recalled the efforts made in Arizona to help out and welcome LSU and Louisiana residents when the Tigers' game was moved to Tempe during Hurricane Katrina. He said he was hopeful similar efforts would happen around the capital area this weekend.
LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva sent out a message to students letting them know Red Cross volunteers would be accepting donations at the stadium to assist with flood relief. He also said they appreciated the suggestion from some students that the field be painted with South Carolina's colors, but with another LSU home game next week that wasn't feasible.
University President F. King Alexander also sent out an email saying the school would host a ceremony before the game to "transfer" the keys of Tiger Stadium to the University of South Carolina's student government representatives. Alexander said the school will also host a tailgate with free food and drinks for all South Carolina and LSU fans from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the Parade Ground in order to foster a "home-team environment" for USC.
Multiple restaurants said they will offer discounts to USC fans traveling in from Columbia. Marty J's Seafood said they're giving all South Carolina residents 20 percent off their meals through the weekend, and said 10 percent of everything they make during their tailgate Saturday for the game will go to flood victims.
Restaurant IPO said they will give 15 percent off to South Carolina visitors Friday and Saturday, while the Office Bar will give those traveling in from the state their first drink for free. Pastime restaurant said those traveling from South Carolina will get to take half off the price of their meals.
Domino's Pizza said they will also hold a donation night on Monday, Oct. 12 with 20 percent of all sales that night being donated to the American Red Cross.
Sammy's Grill is offering traveling South Carolina fans a 20 percent discount at all of their locations including Highland Road, Zachary, Central and Prairieville. The discount, available to those with South Carolina driver's license or student ID, started today and will continue through Sunday.