The Heisman comes to Natchitoches for good, beginning Wednesday evening

The Heisman Trophy’s 2022 winner will be crowned Saturday night in New York City, with four quarterbacks announced Monday evening as finalists.

Louisiana’s four Heisman recipients will be celebrated Wednesday evening and forevermore in Natchitoches, at the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.

In the run-up to Saturday night’s 2022 presentation on ESPN, any Heisman discussion around these parts will take maybe a half-minute before Joe Burrow’s name enters the conversation.

That will lead, naturally, to talk about LSU’s first Heisman winner, Billy Cannon.

Did you know Dr. Cannon was not the first Louisiana star to win the Heisman? Hint – it’s an easier question in this part of the state.

Cannon, born in Mississippi, raised in Baton Rouge and undeniably the most dynamic player in the game as a senior at LSU for Paul Dietzel, captured the 25th Heisman – the only one made of silver, not bronze – in 1959.

Two years earlier, it went to a Louisiana native, a humble country boy from Springhill, John David Crow, a running back from Bear Bryant’s Texas A&M Aggies.

Did you know Burrow is not the most recent Louisiana product to win the Heisman? After LSU’s modern-day golden boy snagged the award in 2019, a year later, it was Amite product DeVonta Smith, a sensational and soft-spoken Alabama receiver who now stars for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Not a lot of states can boast four Heisman winners – no others whose population is about 4 million humans.

Beginning Wednesday evening, you can soak in Louisiana’s Heisman heritage in Natchitoches, at the Hall of Fame museum at 800 Front Street. That’s when the LSHOF’s Heisman Trophy exhibit officially debuts, and the 6:30 ribbon cutting ceremony will be free of charge and full of excitement – along with representatives of each of the four home state Heisman winners.

In an opening reception hosted by the museum, FLASH (Friends of Louisiana Sports and History) and the LSHOF Foundation, the permanent exhibit will be revealed. The extra special piece – Cannon’s 1959 trophy, will remain until Jan. 4 and then come back every summer for a couple of months before and after the Hall’s annual induction festivities, thanks to Dr. Cannon’s wife, Mrs. Dot, and his daughter, Bunnie.

December is already a fine time to visit the museum, either Wednesday evening or afterwards, Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  Not only is there a world-class museum with a fascinating new exhibit to enjoy, but you can hang around a little longer to enjoy the fabulous Christmas lights and perhaps some dinner at any of several outstanding eateries, or just the traditional turkey legs and such on the riverbank.

Or come early, build in lunchtime, blend in some bopping and shopping with a museum visit and a look at the lights. You’ll still be home well before bedtime.

The grand opening Wednesday has a VIP champagne toast reception from 5:30-6:30 – to join that mini-party with the Heisman family members and friends, you’ve got to be a FLASH member (rates start at $35, and graduate up; all revenue directly supports the museum, and all levels provide some free admissions, with $100 and up granting free admission to all nine Louisiana State Museums along with accredited museums around the country).

The ribbon cutting and exhibit opening is free from 6:30-8 p.m., time enough not only to see the new exhibit, but also to make a quick trip through the two-story, 27,000-square foot museum that was named the world’s No. 1 new architectural project of 2013. Second was an addition to the Louvre (In Paris). No other project in North America made the top 10.

How do you get a FLASH membership? They’ll be available at the front door of the museum all day Wednesday leading into the 5:30 VIP reception. For more information, call the museum at 318-357-2492.

After all, it’s your museum. And as Terry Bradshaw says in the welcome video, “Folks, enjoy it! It’s special.”