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  • Lance Sutehall

F.G. Clark Center – Southern Jaguars


Photos by Lance Sutehall, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.71

F.G. Clark Center Harding Blvd Baton Rouge, LA 70813


Year Opened: 1975

Capacity: 7,500

 

There's No Dome Like The Mini-Dome

In the northern part of Baton Rouge sits the campus of Southern University, a well-known HBCU (Historically Black College and University). Its athletic teams are known as the Jaguars and they compete in the SWAC (Southwestern Athletic Conference).


The Jaguars have played at the F.G. Clark Activity Center since 1975. It’s named after Dr. Felton Grandison Clark, who served as the university’s second president.


The arena is nicknamed the “Mini-Dome” because of its resemblance to the Caesars Superdome in New Orleans. (The football team plays its in-state rival the Grambling Tigers in the Bayou Classic at the Superdome every year.)


The Jaguars men’s basketball team has made 9 NCAA tournaments, the last making March Madness in 2016. The Jaguars have retired the jersey numbers of Avery Johnson, Bobby Phills, and Bob Love. The court was renamed the “Avery Johnson Court” in 2013.



Food & Beverage 2

The menu includes stadium basics such as hot dogs ($5), hot sausages ($7), nachos ($6), candy ($2), popcorn ($2), chips ($1) and 20 oz. bottled Coke products ($3). The one unique item on the menu is jambalaya ($7). There are two concession stands but only one was open during the game I attended. I assume the second stand is open during SWAC games.


Atmosphere 3

The first thing I saw in the parking lot was the “Awakening” sculpture by Al LaVergne. It was erected in 1976 and according to the East Baton Rouge Parish Library it is meant to be a “representation of a facet of positive changes in America.”


There is not much to the concourse but once you head to the seats you see the floor with the Southern logo at midcourt and light blue around the out-of-bounds area. The lower bowl has chair-back seats with the yellow seats at the front being reserved for season ticket holders while the blue seats are general admission. There are also yellow bleacher seats surrounding the blue chair backs if the crowd is large enough.


There is a DJ to keep the entertainment going during timeouts and halftime. There should be cheerleaders as long as the game is occurring when classes are in session. They were not there when I attended a game in December after finals were finished so keep that in mind if you want to attend a game.


Neighborhood 3

There are not a lot of things to see in the vicinity of Southern University. The campus is surrounded by residential areas. If you are spending a day in Baton Rouge I would recommend driving seven miles to downtown where you can visit several museums as well as the Louisiana State Capitol.


Hit up Schlitz & Giggles for pizza, the Cecelia Creole Bistro for Creole dishes, or Aztecs if you want Mexican food. Overnight lodging options downtown include the Hilton, Hampton Inn, Courtyard, Hotel Indigo, and Watermark.


Fans 3

The stands are not typically filled to the brim but the fans that do show up are loyal and get behind their Jaguars. The Southern fans are knowledgeable about basketball and appreciate a good play when they see one.


Access 3

One thing that should get you to consider going to a game here is that the parking is free! Inside the arena, there are enough bathrooms but as mentioned before there are only two concession stands (occasionally only one is open) and the lighting is not great in the walkways.


Return on Investment 4

A general admission ticket costs $15 but you have to purchase it the day of the game at the ticket window outside. A ticket, free parking, jambalaya, and Coke will cost you $25 by yourself, $50 for a date or hangout, and $100 for a family of four. Not bad for Division One college basketball!


Extras 1

The DJ at the end of the court is a nice touch. The DJ keeps the energy flowing while there are breaks in game action.


Final Thoughts

When you come to a Southern basketball game you will see the Jaguars give everything they have to win and their fans will appreciate their efforts.


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