Jerry Leglue, 82, looked across Parking Lot B, across South Stadium Drive from where LSU plays football, to a vintage RV parked at the curb.
“That’s what I started with in 1966,” said Leglue, who owns an Alexandria car dealership.
Leglue doesn’t remember any other RVs at LSU games the year he bought a Broadmoor neighbor’s 2-year-old Travco, drove to the game and parked at the curb on South Stadium Drive a few yards from the stadium.
“We made some short trips in it and took it to games,” he said.
“The State Police were in charge of parking,” Leglue said. “They’d move their cars to let me in. We didn’t pay anything. Times have changed.”
The next year a man named Cangelosi joined Leglue in an RV at the curb. “Then, Bill Cotton from Monroe came in an RV.” Knowing someone at LSU may have helped the RV pioneers get their good parking spots. Cotton was a member of the north Louisiana Cotton bakery family, Leglue said, but Leglue thinks the university may have regarded their RVs as just large cars.
Leglue, who’s had season tickets since 1964, drove his RV to games until 1968, the year his wife, Peggy, died.
“I had three kids and didn’t have a lot of time,” he said.
Leglue complained to a friend about how dating had changed since he courted his wife. “I know someone,” the friend said. “She just got out of a convent.”
Connie Kleinpeter, a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph for 17 years, left her order in the wake of Vatican II in the 1960's.
“It was time to let in some fresh air,” she said, but changes in the church weren’t to her liking.
“I left St. Joseph’s Convent on a Thursday night and started teaching at Audubon Elementary the next morning,” she said.
Looking at Leglue sitting beside her at a table in the RV’s kitchen, she said, “I don’t regret either life.”
“I was 36 when Jerry and I got married,” said Connie Leglue. “Jayne was 10. Jerry Jr. was 8. Allen was 6.”
By 1971, Leglue was driving his second RV to games from Goodwood Boulevard. He’d paid $6,500 for the first motor coach. He paid $32,000 for the second and sold it a year later for $35,000.
“Today, they start at $250,000 and go up to $2 million,” he said. The Leglues’ RV is custom made by a Canadian bus builder. “There’s so much stuff built in, washing machine and dryer, dish washer, refrigerator, deep freeze, king-size bed,” Leglue said.
“When I came back to LSU games,” Leglue said, “we were parking in the lot across from the stadium like cars. We still weren’t paying anything.”
Today, Leglue pays $5,000 a year for his place near the stadium.
“Water’s $5.50 a bottle (in the stadium),” said Connie Leglue.
RV parking spots go for between $750 and $6,000 a season, depending on distance from the stadium, according to the LSU Athletic Department.
RV parking spots for individual games range from $100 to $200 and sell out the first day they go on sale in August.
When Gary Graham, director of the Office of Parking, Traffic and Transportation, came to LSU 30 years ago there were 100 to 150 RVs parked in the Travelin’ Tiger Lot on what’s now called Skip Bertman Drive. Today, there are 880 RV spaces on campus.
In the early days, RVs carried instant parties to games. “We brought a bunch of people to the game,” Leglue said. “We had eight season tickets bought by Miller Buick.” Leglue was the general manager.
“Men wore coats and ties to games,” he said. “Women wore dresses, high heels and hats. Now, it’s fun to watch them walk by.”
“He means they’re hanging out of their clothes,” his wife said.
“At my age, all you can do is look,” Leglue said, “and my eyes are getting bad.”
Friends and family still visit and eat with the Leglues before games. “I’m one of 11 children,” said Connie Leglue, whose father, Leon R. Kleinpeter Sr., owned Kleinpeter Dairy.
Visitors can top 50 before games. “We should have kept a diary,” Connie Leglue said. “It’s constant. The children’s friends come. The grandchildren’s friends come. They all know they’re welcome.”
Jerry Leglue was born at Nottoway Plantation in White Castle where his father farmed. His success selling Buicks and, later, Nissans in Alexandria has let him buy seven RVs and see a lot of LSU football.
“This is our seventh RV,” he said. “And our last.”
One of the couple’s grandchildren, 6-6, 280-pound John Leglue, 16, a lineman at Menard High School in Alexandria, has caught the eye of major college football recruiters, Connie Leglue said.
If John Leglue plays at LSU, Jerry Leglue may not get to the stadium in an RV, but he’ll be there, said Connie Leglue.