Many of Big Blue Nation’s most loyal and passionate members will soon pack their suitcases full of UK blue t-shirts and bourbon, and set off on a long voyage for Hattiesburg, Mississippi; where the Kentucky Wildcats will kick off the 2017 football season at Southern Miss on Saturday.
And as the resident Hattiesburg expert because I stopped there for food on my way to New Orleans once, I feel that it is my obligation to BBN to share everything there is to know about the trip.
Now my experience was very unique — I don’t expect any of you will get pulled over for a blow-up doll pressed against the back window of a cargo van — but I spent the last several hours on Google, and I believe I have answers to all of your Hattiesburg questions.
So run through all of the questions and answers below, and if I missed anything, I don’t know what to tell you.
Question: Where should I stay?
Answer: A quick Google search tells me there are still hotels available, so go ahead and lock down a room now.
What are some fun Hattiesburg facts I can use to impress my friends?
Funny you should ask. I have five fun facts you can keep in your back pocket in case anyone has a lot of questions about Hattiesburg while you are there.
1. Hattiesburg is nicknamed the “The Hub City” because it was the intersection of several important rail lines across the south. The nickname came from a local newspaper contest in 1912.
2. Hattiesburg is home to the African American Military History Museum, which opened in 1942 and is dedicated to the African American soldiers that have fought and served for their country from Buffalo Soldiers to Operation Iraqi Freedom.
3. The city was without power for almost two weeks and 80 percent of its roads were blocked as a result of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The storm killed 24 people in Hattiesburg and the surrounding areas.
4. The region around Hattiesburg was involved in the Cold War in the 1960s. Nuclear devices were detonated about 28 miles outside the city as part of an experiment the U.S. government called Project Dribble; an experiment to see if it was possible to detect a nuke that was set off underground. The experiment broke a Nuclear Test Ban Treaty that both the U.S. and the Soviet Union had signed in 1963.
5. NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre, who lives in Hattiesburg and played quarterback at Southern Miss, sent pictures of his penis to Jenn Sterger. (You can see those here if you’re interested.)
Where should I eat?
Music lovers can grab a sandwich while browsing the vinyl collection at T-Bones Records and Cafe, but it’s more of a lunch spot. For those looking for a good dinner, I can personally vouch for Crescent City Grill and its shrimp etouffee; however, ask a local and they will probably send you to Leatha’s Bar-B-Que Inn, a must-stop for all Hattiesburg tourists.
What can I do in Hattiesburg when I’m not at the game?
If you’re asking about Saturday, you should only be doing two things when you’re not at the game: (1) tailgating all day before kickoff; and (2) celebrating the win afterward.
The Hattiesburg Zoo has Story Time Friday at 11 am, should you arrive in town a day early.
What about places to stop along the way?
Fans of Last Chance U may want to consider East Mississippi Community College’s season opener Thursday night. The Lions host Jones County Junior College in Scooba (about two hours north of Hattiesburg on your way down) and it is Buddy Stephens’ 100th career game.
Don’t go if you’re hoping to make a Netflix cameo, though; the show has moved on to another school for its third season.
Where can I find KSR?
Matt Jones and Ryan Lemond will broadcast live from somewhere in Birmingham on Thursday and then somewhere in Hattiesburg on Friday. Locations of each show are TBD, but they’d love to have you stop by, if you can find them.
The guys will also be at the East Mississippi CC game until Buddy throws them out.
What are the rules on tailgating at Southern Miss?
CAMPUS TAILGATING GUIDELINES
– Campus will open at 12 p.m. the day before a home game for tailgate set up.
– With the exception of approved University-sponsored tents, all spaces are first come basis.
– All tailgate set ups must be picked up by 12 p.m. the day following a home game.
– No pull behind cookers/ grills are allowed on grass areas without prior approval from the University.
– Automobiles are prohibited from the grassy and tree lined areas unless approved by the University prior to game day.
– Small, portable, single-unit grills are permitted. All burning or hot charcoal must be disposed of properly; do not dispose of on any grass area, in trashcans or dumpsters.
– Portable generators with a decibel rating of 60db or less are permitted for tailgate use.
– No solicitation is permitted, including commercial or political advertising.
– Help keep campus beautiful by placing all trash in the proper receptacles.
– Music and amplified sound should be kept at a reasonable level that does not detract from others tailgating experience.
– Do not leave valuables unattended. The University is not responsible for unattended tents and items.
– Please refer to SouthernMiss.com for any football tailgating guideline updates and/ or changes.
Read more here.
Or do whatever you want because we’ll never be back. Your call.
Will there be a Cat Walk?
Yes, although I do not know where or when.
We will provide that information once UK provides that information.
What’s the name of the stadium? I’ll probably have to punch it in my GPS.
Southern Miss plays in M. M. Roberts Stadium, better known as “The Rock,” and it can’t be too hard to spot.
M. M. Roberts, for whom the stadium is named, is an alumnus of the university and long-time donor of the football program. He is credited with the creation of M&M’s chocolate candies. (I made that last part up.)
Anything I need to know about the campus?
Students paint messages on the “Little Rock” located north of the Fleming Education Center on campus.
Bonus points to anyone who paints something KSR-related on the rock this weekend.
Who should I boo during the game?
You should boo Shannon Dawson.
Is Kentucky going to win?
Don’t be silly.