Wednesday, November 7, 2007

'War Fair' tales...

Mr. Albert McKee called me from Ruston after reading yesterday’s column about the old State Fair Classic, NSU vs. Tech series. In the late 1960s, NSU students hired a pilot to drop WRECK TECH leaflets on the Ruston campus the day before the Saturday game. The pilot accidentally -- nor not, who really knows? -- dropped them two miles west, on the Grambling State campus, instead.

McKee was a Tech student in 1946 (right after WWII, you’ll recall) when a Tech student in the Army Air Corp flew over Natchitoches and dropped sacks of flour all over Demon land on the Friday before Saturday’s game in Shreveport. But, McKee said the student had low fuel and had to land near the river by the NSU campus. Demon students “captured” the pilot, shaved his head, painted a purple “N” on it, caged him, kept him overnight, and during halftime of the game the next day, let him out of the cage -- on the 50 yard line, something you’d surely get arrested for today.
“Yep, that was back in the good ol’ days,” McKee said.

Another pilot, a former NSU student who preferred not to be mentioned -- he’s a professor at a local university which may or may not be LSUS -- also dropped WRECK TECH leaflets from a plane in the 1960s -- “but I hit the campus,” he said. “I know where Ruston is.”

The NSU Student Government Association had hired him for the prank. His cousin was a “bigwig” with the SGA. He borrowed the plane from a friend in Springhill, dropped the leaflets early on the Friday morning of State Fair weekend, flew back to Springhill, then drove back to Natchitoches. He went to his cousin for his money, “about $30,” he said, “maybe $50.”

She said she needed an invoice.

An invoice? He didn’t want to sign his name to a bill that would basically be a confession. “So,” he said, “I never got paid.”

Which is how it goes at the fair. You pays your money, you takes your chances.

One more, this one from the T-Mail files...
I liked your article this morning about the State Fair Game. I was a student at Northwestern State College,
(1946-1950) We never won during those years. After the game we would walk down the Midway with our friends, and big corsages on. The workers would ask "who won"? Needless to say, we were not happy campers.We had no wins while I was there.
One year, I think I was a freshman, I rode the train to Shreveport from Natchitoches for the game. I decided to ride back with friends. We were late, and the Dean of Women was not very understanding. It was not even midnight. We were campused, and my Mother threatened to come to Natchitoches. I lived through it though.

I remember Henry Burns and the leaflet incident. Even though I am somewhat older than Henry, I agree, "we lost a great tradition."