Charm, grace and a joy for living are some of the attributes that make LSU fans so popular with Omahans during the College World Series.
Karen Barrett, an owner of Barrett's Barleycorn Pub and Grill, described the Tiger fans who have made her bar their unofficial headquarters during CWS visits as “gracious, fun and very, very kind people.” When Louisiana State doesn't make it to the CWS, the tourney just isn't as much fun for Barrett — or as profitable.
“Last night, we were packed full of LSU fans and, just like always, you can tell how much they love being here in Omaha,” Barrett said Sunday. “Whenever we play the LSU fight song, every single one of their fans stands and sings — even this little 80-year-old man who was having a birthday was singing along. They have so much fun, and they're so likeable.”
LSU has made 16 trips to Omaha, and the Tigers' most recent visit, in 2009, ended with their sixth national championship. Barrett said she couldn't wait to see some of her old friends roll through the door last week. When they did arrive, many of them had spicy cajun dishes for her to sample.
“A guy brought in something called boudin, which is a dish with sausage and dirty rice,” Barrett said. “He said, 'Here you go, Miss Karen,' and it was wonderful. They are always doing things like that to spice up the party.”
Gabe Butler, a manager at the Upstream Brewery in the Old Market, said fans from all eight CWS teams have been at the restaurant, but he “definitely knows” when LSU people are in town.
“A few of them come every year, but when their team makes it here, too, that's really special,” Butler said. “They've been out in force this year, and they are really fun to have in our place.”
Eric Hummel, LSU's assistant ticket manager, said there were 1,300 requests for the school's 700 allotted tickets, but Tiger fans have ways of finding extra seats. At the LSU's opener Sunday night against UCLA, the crowd of 26,344 appeared to be at least half LSU supporters, press box observers said.