A Water Tank Hullabaloo

100 years ago today, unknown intoxicated parties scaled the side of the Tulane water tank to leave their L.S.U mark while the players of the Tulane football team hung their heads in defeat following their undefeated record-breaking loss in November 22, 1919’s Battle of the Rag.  

Louisiana Research Collection, Jones Hall, Tulane University

Following their initial meeting in 1893, the LSU-Tulane game became one of the most endearing football games in all of college football. Furthermore, in 1919, this annual rivalry game, like no other before, was also to decide the winner of an agreement between the graduating class of Tulane university. The agreement stated that the Tulanian athletic team with the greater number of athletic wins could display their landmark on the water tank located on campus. In the end, it seemed as though this historical 27-6 Tulane loss tipped the scale in favor of their Tiger rivals and not simply the other intended Tulane athletic team. With the sentimental significance of this Tulane water tank circling the college sports world, the LSU Tigers took the opportunity to not only beat their rivals on the field but also humiliate them off the field. 

As the game ended and the sun set, L.S.U superfans took to their truck and rolled into the Newcomb neighborhood while the Tulanians had hung their hats and hit the hay only to wake the next morning to their rival Tiger landmark painted high in the sky. Not letting adversity stand in their way, the strong willed Tulanian fans picked up their buckets and brushes and headed to the scene. After a long day of scrubbing only minimal traces of red paint could be found and the feeling of pride had been restored on the Tulane campus. 

This humorous event shows the great lengths one is willing to go to support and show dominance for their favorite college sports team. The Tulane water tank was no regular tank, in fact, its tradition has brought to life multiple athletically historic memories both good and bad for many Tulane athletes in its’ time. What was once of  main importance in the life of a Tulane football fan that sad Sunday morning is now merely a memory. As we walk on campus there’s no sight of a water tank but the memories of this once cherished tradition will always remain at heart.  

Louisiana Research Collection, Jambalaya yearbook 1920, Jones Hall, Tulane University


Tulane University and Newcomb College, Jambalaya. (New Orleans, La.: Tulane University, 1920).

“Tulane’s Own Water Tank Decorated By Hated Rivals Sting of Smarting Defeat Is Given Added,” Times-Picayune, November 24, 1919, Access World News – Historical and Current.

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