LSU football fans and residents of Baton Rouge are in mourning today, with the death of former Tigers player and beloved local restaurateur Ruffin Rodrigue Jr. His restaurante Ruffino’s is a staple for visitors to town when LSU is hosting a game at Death Valley.
Rodrigue Jr. played for the Tigers from 1986-89, winning two SEC Championships under head coaches Bill Arnsparger and Mike Archer.
“Our whole LSU family is mourning the loss of a great friend and a great Tiger,” head coach Ed Orgeron tweeted after news broke. “Ruffin, you will be sorely missed by us all. Rest In Peace.”
ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit took to Twitter to pay his respects. He says that Ruffino’s is a staple trip for the College GameDay crew every time they’re in Baton Rouge, which sounds like it is a pretty typical experience for the rest of the college football world when it comes to Rodrigue’s restaurant.
My sincere condolences to Ruffin’s family and the LSU community. Our crew, for as long as I can remember, always made a stop to Ruffino’s EVERY trip to Baton Rouge. He was always so welcoming and such a gracious host. Just devastating news. I’m so very sorry for his passing. 🙏🏼 https://t.co/4bQVz54xIK
— Kirk Herbstreit (@KirkHerbstreit) November 25, 2020
After the success of Ruffino’s, which he opened in Baton Rouge in 2000, he opened a second location in Lafayette in 2013. According to those who knew him, he was a major figure in the local restaurant scene, and spent much of his year advocating for the struggling industry amid the global pandemic this year.
Rodrigue Jr. was just 53 at the time of his passing. Our thoughts go out to all in the LSU football and Baton Rouge communities affected by his loss today.