I enjoyed reading the article on Tiger Stadium history and the nickname “Death Valley” in Sunday’s Advocate. As a reference librarian at the East Baton Rouge Parish Library, I decided to research the topic some more.
I searched the Advocate Historical Archive database from 1925 on. I found a reference to Tiger Stadium as “Death Valley” in an Oct. 12, 1961, letter and in a Nov. 3, 1963, article titled “Vaught Elated.” The article says that the Ole Miss coach referred to Tiger Stadium as “Death Valley.”
I found no instance of the phrase “Deaf Valley” in the Advocate at all prior to the opening of Deaf Valley Shell in 1968 and actually no reference to any LSU stadium as “Deaf Valley” until 1979, when Dale Brown called the basketball stadium “Deaf Valley.”
So it is pretty clear that “Death Valley” precedes “Deaf Valley” and is the true, long-standing nickname for Tiger Stadium.
By the way, I strongly recommend the Advocate Historical Archive as a research source. You can find it at the library’s website http://www.ebrpl.com and click the “Online Databases” link, then “Magazines and Newspapers.”