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Lake St. John family fills house with LSU spirit

Lake St. John —  An LSU welcome mat and a gold and purple LSU wreath on the front door greet visitors to Kari and Kippy Blaney’s house on Lake St. John before they ever step into the house, showing the world the Blaneys are LSU fans.

Once inside, visitors see all the LSU memorabilia the Blaneys have collected over the years.

An LSU blanket and a pillow adorn a red couch, framed newspapers feature headlines from when the LSU Tigers baseball team won the College World Series, a brown wooden plaque with the LSU tiger on it and a picture of Tiger Stadium hang on the wall.

Perhaps most notably, a 7-foot tall blowup LSU Tiger wearing an LSU jersey stands in a corner of the living room.

Kari said she has been an LSU fan all of her life, having grown up in Baton Rouge, where her parents, Ralph and Karla Laukhuff, drove her and her brother, Randy, and sister, Brittny, to every Tigers game on Saturdays, whether at home or away.

“My father would always say, ‘It never rains in Tiger Stadium,’” Kari said. “We never left the stadium until the game was over.”

Kari said that when she met Kippy she told him he had to like football, because she is a big LSU fan, and he had to become an LSU fan, too.

“A lot of the reason why I’m a fan is because of her dad, too,” Kippy said. “Her dad passed away three years ago, and he lived and breathed LSU. We spent a lot of times watching the games with him. We would sometimes go to the games as well.”

Kippy said his favorite LSU memorabilia inside the house are seven gnomes that his grandchildren have given to him for Christmases over the years.

Kippy said another favorite item of his is a 9-foot-long stuffed tiger with a purple LSU hat on.

“The tiger was given to me by a friend named Carla Ray,” Kippy said. “The day her father passed away, she obtained all of his stuff. She was out on the lake and she came here with some friends. She looked around inside the house and she said, ‘I’ve got something you need to have. I have a stuffed tiger.’ I thought it was going to be like a (small) stuffed tiger. But when I saw it, it just fit right in.”

The Blaneys have traveled to bowl games when LSU played in them, Kippy said. The latest bowl game the Blaneys went to was in 2018 when LSU Tigers played against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida.

This year, the No. 1 LSU Tigers went 14-0 and will play in the National Championship game at 7 p.m. Monday against the No. 3 Clemson Tigers in New Orleans. Kippy said he and Kari will not be traveling to the game but will host approximately 30 or so people at their house to watch the game.

“No one expected the Tigers to be playing in the national championship game, including me,” Kippy said. “I just think it’s a year not only LSU will remember but everyone in college football will never forget.”