It’s almost showtime for the 2023 Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Induction Celebration Thursday, Friday and Saturday in Natchitoches (except for Friday’s BOM Celebrity Bowling Bash in Alexandria), so it’s time to plan to take in as much fun as you can.
The most-asked question — can I still get tickets for the Saturday evening Induction Reception (from 5-6:30 at the Hall of Fame museum) and Ceremony (at 7 in the Natchitoches Events Center)?
YES. While the usual big turnout is coming, there is still time to go online at LaSportsHall.com to purchase admission to the signature event. But don’t delay – it could sell out.
The reception provides an array of food stations with fare from not only local restaurants, but some from around the state, along with refreshments and music. It’s a chance to see new exhibits (the Kim Mulkey showcase, for example), new display items to celebrate the museum’s 10th anniversary, the just-installed Class of 2023 display cases, and to meet all of the new inductees and perhaps snap a selfie.
The Induction Ceremony at the neighboring Events Center kicks off promptly at 7 with the National Anthem, followed by the stirring Walk of Legends showcasing past Hall of Fame members returning, then introducing the Class of ’23, set to music from The Natural. The 12 inductions begin immediately after, featuring compelling video introductions followed by on-stage conversations with inductees – producing lots of laughter and some misty-eyed moments certain to create lasting memories.
Saturday evening is the only “dress up” event of the Induction Celebration. Blazers for the men and cocktail dress-style attire for the women are requested.
Otherwise, it’s casual for the rest of the festivities, starting with the free, open to everyone Thursday evening Welcome Reception from 5-7 at the museum. La Capitol Federal Credit Union will mark its 20th year presenting that signature event – again with food, refreshments and music, and the new inductees and their families having traveled in some cases almost 2,000 miles to celebrate the occasion.
There’s still room for bowlers to join in Friday’s BOM Celebrity Bowling Bash at Four Seasons Bowling Center in Alexandria. The doors open at 11:30 with lunch provided by Walk On’s, plenty of warm up bowling and music, and more mingling with inductees, their families, and other sports celebrities before they’re introduced and “competition” begins at 1. Again – sign up at LaSportsHall.com.
The biggest free event is Friday evening on the downtown Natchitoches riverbank stage – the Rockin’ River Fest Concert, from 6-10:30.
It’s family friendly. A free interactive kids zone presented by Louisiana Propane Dealers will include basketball, football, golf and science games for all ages to enjoy.
Rockin’ Dopsie Jr. & the Zydeco Twisters are back as the headline act. Dopsie has played the White House to the Jazz Fest, boogied with James Brown and John Fogerty, and wowed crowds all over, described as “Mick Jagger of the marsh” as “a party seems to break out whenever and wherever Dopsie and his band show up.”
The opening act is Jason Ashley & The Hot Sauce Band, featuring the Alexandria native and regional country music star playing hits from yesterday and today, an act popular around the Gulf Coast and all the way to Nashville.
If you want to beat the summer heat and enjoy a tasty collection of Louisiana foods and specialty refreshments, you can visit LaSportsHall.com to snap up some of the few remaining $100 tickets to the VIP Taste of Tailgating presented by Hancock Whitney.
That party runs from 7-10 p.m. in the air-conditioned comfort of Mama’s Oyster House and Blues Room that will provide exclusive access to the 12-member 2023 Induction Class. They will also be introduced on stage at 9:15, just before a 10-minute fireworks show set to sports-themed music.
Saturday morning’s Junior Training Camp hosted by the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans at NSU’s Webb Wellness and Recreation Center has only a handful of free spots left for kids 7-17. Advance registration is required at LaSportsHall.com.
There’s no more room for Saturday’s Round Table Lunch downtown at The Venue. It’s sold out.
But there are plenty of other chances to see the Class of 2023: Eli Manning, Alana Beard, Paul Mainieri, Matt Forte, Wendell Davis, Paul Byrd, Walter Davis, Ron Washington, Walter Imahara, M.L. Woodruff, and sports journalists Bruce Brown and Lori Lyons.
You’re invited to join the fun, starting Thursday evening in Natchitoches.