Like most occasions that involve some form of a party, tailgating has become quite the southern tradition. Now, if you’re thinking of the kind of tailgating that you see on TV, you’ll be in for a significant surprise when you experience it in Louisiana.

Between the food, beer and sense of community, the crowds that follow the athletic teams across the Gulf tailgate in a league of their own. Here is a look at some of the strong traditions you’ll find when pregaming with south’s most loyal football fanatics.

Joie de Vivre

Yeah, it might seem like a non-traditional thing, but a celebration is the first thing on the list for Louisiana tailgating. These tailgating parties are the definition of “joie de vivre.” If the phrase is new to you, it is a French phrase that, in English, expresses a cheerful enjoyment of life–especially food. Loosely translated, it means, “joy of living.” If it’s not a party, we don’t want to be there!

One of the best ways that this is expressed during tailgating is through the food. You can’t go wrong with crawfish dip or a piping hot bowl of jambalaya, especially crawfish jambalaya. Because if we’re being honest, no dish of it is complete without crawfish. Other tailgating favorites include anything you can grill up on-site like sausage, shrimp, or tried-and-true burgers (especially the crawfish kind). Yeah, you read that right. It’s a thing and it’s heavenly.

Tricked Out Tailgating

No Louisiana tailgating party would be complete without a parking lot full of die-hard fans who bring their best gear and team spirit. We’re talking the ultimate football fan playground boasting tricked out RVs, elaborate tent set-ups, grilling stations, yard games, TVs and even furniture. Mais, we bring the living room outdoors for a tailgating experience that’s on a whole ‘nother level. Everyone is painted up, beer is always flowing and a mix of Cajun, country and top billboard jams stays blaring throughout the parking lot. I guess you could say we’re firm believers in the phrase, “shake what your mama gave ya!” So, if you’re coming to party, come ready and come decked out in your team gear!

From the outside looking in, some may call this over the top. But the truth is, for any fan, this is a perfect set-up to show how dedicated you are to the teams you stand behind, regardless if they win or lose. It also grants you the opportunity to show off your cooking skills, and who doesn’t enjoy tooting their own horn every once and awhile? Toot-toot!

You could even choreograph a Cajun cookoff beforehand, where you challenge other fans to make a certain dish and let the crowd decide on who made it best. Try using dishes that are easy to make and easy to source. Some ideas include:

You can use these recipes as a base and see what kind of spin you can put on them to wow fellow tailgaters. Just make sure to give it a kick! Cajun spice is a way of life in the Pelican State, so bring on the flavor!

It doesn’t matter if you’re a tailgating pro or a newbie, southern football fans know exactly what needs to happen to get the tailgating party started. You’re welcome to join in, because there’s sure to be plenty of food, cher!