Monday, September 22, 2014

Mike Gets an Epic Road Trip

This may be one of the most epic college pranks of all time; unfortunately, LSU was the butt of this  one nearly 65 years ago.

At that time, probably before the LSU - Ole Miss rivalry became primo, LSU had one with Tulane.  Like that little university in New Orleans. 

Anyway, LSU's teams were known as the Tigers since 1896, and they obtained Mike the Tiger as a real live animal mascot back in 1936.  Mike would show up and roar appreciation for his team at home games, and a few away games as well.

It so happened that LSU was playing Tulane on December 2, 1950, and they brought Mike along to New Orleans for the game.  Four Tulane students who had been on a coon hunt (!) happened upon Mike the Tiger in his traveling cage.  They acted on impulse and pulled the cage away even though their car had no trailer hitch.  They did a little carpe diem, you might say; and made off with a 14-year-old, 500-pound Bengal tiger!

Now different accounts have it that the tiger's cage was painted green; and some even say that Mike the Tiger was painted green.  However, the most credible one is that the cage was decorated with green and white crepe paper (Tulane's colors).  No cats were harmed in that escapade. The tigernapped feline was returned before the LSU - Tulane game, with the encouragement of the N.O.P.D.  Perhaps they tracked down the guys who were buying kitty treats by the case!

LSU took a dim view of the whole escapade, Mike the Tiger's unofficial road trip.  The four Tulane culprits were banned from the LSU campus for 50 years!  According to one Georgia newspaper, one of the participants regularly told the story of the tiger heist.  Mike was, fortunately, not worse for wear despite being in New Orleans for a while.  By the way, the game ended in a 14-14 tie.


There were six Mike the Tigers;
this is one of them.

11 comments:

Juliette said...

They must have been quite naïve to go to New Orleans and not stay around their cat!

The Bastard King of England said...

An absurd tail!

Linda Kay said...

I'm with Juliette...why was Mike left unattended? What a funny story. Really? 50 years? And what on earth would you do with a tiger for a kidnapping?

TexWisGirl said...

i don't like live mascots, especially wild ones.

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

Auburn had an injured eagle for its mascot. (War Damn Eagle!) It was caged as a rescue effort for the injured bird. Otherwise, I don't like wild animal mascots, either.

I don't think anyone thought to steal it; even that douche who poisoned the trees on Toomer's Corner.

Mike said...

They asked me to be tiger number 4 but I couldn't get away on weekends at the time.

Duckbutt said...

Somebody's head probably rolled for losing the tiger!

Hold that tiger? They STOLE that tiger!

Big Sky Heidi said...

If Ole Miss students stole the tiger, they would make it into tiger stew.

beach lad said...

how bizarre that a wild animal was allowed to be kept as a team mascot - thank crikey for some progress in common sense.

(assuming its not the case any longer)

bakku-shan said...

He was a handsome tiger!

Bilbo said...

I was going to suggest a post-retirement gig for Mike, but he beat me to the joke. Sigh.