NSU names tailgating area to honor its’ ‘founding father,’ Donald Horton


Paying tribute to the driving force behind the creation of Northwestern State’s innovative tailgating area near Turpin Stadium featuring cable television connections and other amenities, the Demons will rename it “Donald’s Demon Alley” to honor the late Donald Horton of Coushatta, announced NSU director of athletics Greg Burke.

Horton, 68, served as NSU Athletic Association President for more than 12 years before his passing in June 2013. He drew the plans for the tailgating zone south of Turpin Stadium, NSU’s football stadium, with cable TV, water and electrical connections provided to patrons, changing the face of game day activity at Northwestern when it was opened for the 2003 season.

Commonly known as the “Demon Alley” since then, the area now features the Collins Family Pavilion and is the cornerstone for avid tailgating prior to NSU home football games. Signage will be erected and dedicated at “Donald’s Demon Alley” during a ceremony on Thursday afternoon, Sept. 3, in the hours prior to the 6 p.m. kickoff for the NSU season opener at Turpin Stadium, the White Out Game against Southeastern Louisiana.

“It is most fitting that the NSU football tailgating area is named in honor of Donald Horton,” said Burke, about to begin his 20th year as the Demons’ director of athletics. “I still remember the day that Donald walked into my office with the hand-sketched rendition of a concept which he envisioned would greatly enhance the Demon football game day experience, and he was right.  Tailgating has grown exponentially since the ‘full service’ tailgate locations designed by Donald were installed over a decade ago and associating his name with this pre-game spot is a meaningful way to recognize him for his vision.”

Along with being focal figures in tailgating at NSU for decades, he and his wife Pat were involved with countless Demons athletic events and fundraisers for many years. They hosted the annual Red River Parish “Victory Tour” stops at their Coushatta home from 2003-12. They hosted hospitality stations at the annual Don’t Die Wondering Golf Classic supporting Lady Demon basketball each August.

The Hortons’ support of NSU has long been a family affair, noted Burke.   “I am glad that Donald’s wife, Pat, along with their two sons John and Leland will be in attendance at our home opener for the official dedication of ‘Donald’s Demon Alley.’  Donald and Pat always made NSU such an important part of their lives and I have no doubt that their passion for NSU permeated the Horton household through the years,” said Burke.

Horton, a Tulane Law School graduate, was a key figure in creation of the John K. Kelly Grand Bayou Waterway in Red River Parish, while serving as legal counsel for the Red River Waterway Commission. He was half-owner in The Famous Natchitoches Louisiana Meat Pie Company, which distributes the unique dish nationally and maintains substantial operations in Coushatta.   He was a member of the Athletic Association Board of Directors for almost 30 years, serving as president for most of Burke’s two decades years as director of athletics. He and Pat were vital to the development of the bi-annual Scholarship Auction that raises funds supporting NSU student-athletes.