Huge sculpture has attracted scores of visitors each week since December installation, and a few have climbed and hung on artwork
The administration has placed signs around the new tiger
statue to discourage students and visitors from hanging on it.
By E’VONNE GIPSON
Grambling State University Media Bureau
Grambling State University features Eddie the Fighting Tiger as its newest campus attraction, but the administration is concerned about keeping the 17-foot sculpture attractive.
The tiger arrived in early December. It stands tall with one leg raised high above its head and its mouth wide open, showing gigantic sharp teeth. Lots of people have taken photographs at and near the sculpture, but some have climbed on the foundation, on the legs and even on one or more of the teeth. The university has had at least three reports about improper behavior involving Eddie, and there are photos on social media.
The university recently posted two signs near Eddie, each black and gold sign reading “NO CLIMBING OR HANGING ON TIGER.”
“We estimate that the cost to repair an arm breakage or other likely damages resulting from hanging on Eddie could be in excess of $50,000,” said Ante’ Britten, associate vice president for finance and administration. “This cost would include shipping and handling expenses as well.”
Britten said any damage could result in the sculpture being temporarily removed, and more serious damage might result in permanent removal.
Britten said safety is a big concern. “It’s not safe for individuals to climb on the Tiger,” he said. “If they fall wrong they could definitely be injured.”
The massive tiger sculpture started as a long-term project for Texas-based sculptor Bridgette Mongeon and it was installed on a foundation created by Horton Construction, a black-owned business in Shreveport.
The administration has not implemented financial penalties at this point, hoping that warnings will be enough to convince students, faculty, staff and visitors to visit the sculpture and take photographs without climbing, hanging or otherwise misusing and mistreating the art work.
“I hope the signs will stop students, staff, and visitors from climbing and hanging on the tiger because they realize that damaging the tiger would be a devastating blow to a project that so many people worked really hard to see completed,” added Britten. “I hope all Grambilinites — past, present and future — see the tiger as a monument of strength for the university and treat it with respect.”