Natchitoches becomes Louisiana’s Cooperstown for the rest of this week.
With the start of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2021 Induction Celebration this afternoon, our state’s oldest and friendliest town assumes the role of the quaint community in upstate New York that is the home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
That’s a comparison made many times by media and visitors over the nearly 50-year history of the LSHOF inductions in Natchitoches. It will certainly be rekindled over the next three days, when seven events are staged locally.
It all culminates with the Induction Ceremony Saturday night at 7 in the Natchitoches Events Center.
Eleven new members will be officially welcomed into the Hall of Fame.
For information and participation opportunities, visit LaSportsHall.com or call 318-238-4255.
For a special ticket deal, call 318-588-2484.
Reservations are available for all ticketed events and for the free Junior Training Camp Saturday morning at 9 at the NSU WRAC and Turpin Stadium.
Festivities begin this evening with the free La Capitol Federal Credit Union Welcome Reception from 5-7 at the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum – at the traffic circle on Front Street. It is open to all.
Friday’s big event is also free – the Rockin’ River Fest concert, with Billy O’Con and BaDD Apple followed by Parish County Line playing from 6-10:30 p.m. The new Hall of Fame inductees will be introduced on stage at 9, followed by a 10-minute, sports-themed fireworks show over Cane River Lake, and then more music by PCL.
Games for kids presented by Louisiana Propone Dealers, and a Kona Ice truck, will be on the riverbank.
For those craving an air-conditioned environment, an array of Louisiana-themed delicacies and up-close access to the Hall of Famers, there’s the Taste of Tailgating party presented by Hancock-Whitney. The ticketed party is inside Mama’s Oyster House and Blues Room, and has outdoor seating on Front Street.
The stars being saluted include the New Orleans Saints’ all-time best receiver Marques Colston, LSU football great Glenn Dorsey, Southern Jaguars and MLB All-Star Rickie Weeks, 27-time NCAA team championship-winning LSU track coach Pat Henry, and LSU and NBA star Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf (formerly Chris Jackson).
Natchitoches pro fisherman Villis “Bo” Dowden, the 1980 Bassmasters Classic winner, is joined by Baton Rouge native Courtney Blades Rogers, one of the 11 greatest pitchers in college softball history.
Three-time Super Bowl referee Terry McAuley, a Hammond native and LSU graduate now an officiating analyst for NBC’s coverage of Notre Dame and Sunday Night Football, is among the 11 honorees.
Three journalists, including Natchitoches resident and 30-year Northwestern State sports publicist Doug Ireland, will be enshrined. Trailblazing New Orleans sportscaster Ro Brown and Baton Rouge Advocate writer Sheldon Mickles are part of the Class of 2021.
All state pandemic protocols will be observed for indoor events, including masking and social distancing.
VIDEO: 2020 Welcome Reception from Chris Lecoq
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