LAFAYETTE, La. -- Best seat in the house is usually an arbitrary term. It depends on your preference. Some like to be a little higher in the stands to get a view of everything. Others like to be on top of the action.
Then there is the Rome family. Paul and Linda live in one of the houses on West Clement Street, which sits just past the big scoreboard in leftcenter field at M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field.
“After I cut some branches last night, you can see everything but the center fielder and the left fielder,” Linda Rome said. “You have to get a certain angle between the pine trees to see the pitcher and the batter and the umpire. You can see all the action on all the bases.”
That’s right -- the Rome family and their neighbors on West Clement Street have been watching games from their roof since they moved back into the house that Linda grew up in five years ago.
“We’ve been getting up there ever since we moved into the house five years ago because we’re nosy,” Rome said. “We want to know how they are doing and how big the crowd is.”
They are even making a name for themselves on social media after cameras and fans alike have caught them up on the roof watching games. Simply put, they are dubbed the “Roof People.”
The notoriety and location has led to random visitors as Louisiana-Lafayette games have gotten more and more important this season – and not just me. There was the fan on a bike on Saturday that asked if he could string a hammock between the pine trees to watch Game 1 of the Super Regional against Ole Miss. And there was the ULL alum who came by Sunday and offered to bring fish back on Monday if he could watch the game with the Rome family.
“That’s the thing about this place – we’re just real nice people,” Linda said. “Where else would you be able to knock on the door and ask those kinds of things? We got up on the roof last night with all of them. I asked him ‘What did your wife say when you told her?’ And he said ‘She told me I’m crazy.’”
Sitting beyond the 375-foot mark, the house isn’t in danger of being hit with any balls – at least not anymore since the bats were changed to BBCOR. That doesn’t mean they haven’t collected any long balls.
There was Jace Conrad’s grand slam against Jackson State last weekend in the Lafayette Regional which sailed out to right field. Linda was on the roof.
“I yelled down the chimney to my younger son and I said ‘Home run to right field! Go get the ball!’” Linda recalled. “So he ran out of the house, jumped the fence and got the ball. We got Jace to sign it, too. So we still get some.”
Even though the school and team haven’t recognized them per say, they certainly caught the eye of one of the Ole Miss players this weekend.
“I saw an Ole Miss player turn around during the game on Saturday and look at us and our neighbors up on the roof and he must’ve been thinking – ‘what in the world?!’ Linda said.
The Romes say the crowd noise has been incredible during the Ragin’ Cajuns’ run to a winner-take-all Game 3 against the Rebels. They will be up there once again with as many as eight other people in lawn chairs.
There are some rules, though. There’s a two drink maximum thanks to a climb up and down a ladder on the side of the house, and Linda says capacity might be about eight people. The one thing she was worried about the most before first pitch of Game 3?
“I need to sweep the blueberrys off the roof!”
Linda and Paul just want the rest of the nation to know about the hospitality of the natives in Lafayette. Welcoming an intrepid reporter into their house to talk Cajuns’ baseball and take a tour of their roof? Just another stop on the #RoadToOmaha.