New Orleans Lovers Become Football Lovers

It was late evening, we’d just gotten BabyBoy to bed and were letting the dogs out into the back courtyard to do their business, when the mayhem started. Happy mayhem, that is. Screams, shouts, car horns blaring, brass band horns blaring, people chanting, hounds howling.

Our beloved New Orleans had just made it to the Superbowl!

Our household is television free, so we weren’t watching. But Husband was listening online, and I, never really much of a football fan, was going about the nightly routine.

Something happened, though, for me and other previously non-football-lovin’ New Orleans residents. The cheers, the shouting, the wild celebration that makes up the pulse of New Orleans was now revved up and focussed on the Saints. Even those of us who mixed up defense with offense back in junior high are excited about those Saints now.

Yes, there are many new football fans in New Orleans this week. They’ve even gained their own name, “New Dats,” a play on the historied fan chant “Who Dat.”

But some locals made the conversion a little sooner. One such ahead-of-the-game football convert is local artist Gina Phillips.

Gina describes how she and her husband, musician Louis Ledford, became football fans in the wake of disaster in New Orleans:

“I never ever watched football before the beginning of the 2006 season. Louis and I were in the FEMA trailer and it was around the one year anniversary of Katrina at that time. We watched a lot of the one year anniversary stuff on tv…but a lot of it was hard to watch and it made me emotional to see it. We tuned in to see the first Saints home game because there was a lot of hoopla surrounding it…a lot of performers and of course you couldn’t help but to think about all the awful things that had happened in the dome one year before and also wonder over the quick transformation. Well, I didn’t expect it…but we kept watching the game and were surprised to see the Saints doing well.”

After this, Gina says, she and her husband started to watch football regularly and started learning the rules.

“The cool thing was that Louis and I got into this whole thing together,” says Gina. “Neither one of us knew anything about football. We had both made fun of ‘sports’ people…we didn’t understand what we saw as some kind of ‘mob’ mentality. After we got into it, we were really inspired by the way the team spirit brought the city together. The Saints success was one of the few things in NOLA that was working.”

And of the recent excitement, Gina says, “The last game was phenomenal…it was so close up to the very end. We started yelling ritualistically. After every touchdown we played the ‘Get Crunk’ song and danced around the room. One guy started waving a gnawed chicken bone at the screen during defensive plays. It became the lucky chicken bone and it will be resurrected for the big game this Sunday. After the winning field goal was kicked, we jumped up and yelled and cried and hugged each other…then we ran out into the street and jumped up and down and screamed. Everybody else in our neighborhood was out in the street too. Then we got some wine and ran up to the levee to see the city and make toasts. We were surprised there were no fireworks!”

Gina and Louis live in the Holy Cross neighborhood, which looks back across the curve of the Mississippi toward downtown. We are in the Bywater area, between downtown and Holy Cross, and we sure heard the fireworks. They must have been low-flying, but loud.

Gina expresses a sentiment heard this week from many New Orleanians: whatever happens now, it’s all good.

“For me,” says Gina, “I’m satisfied that the Saints made it to the Superbowl…I won’t feel terrible if they don’t win. This whole thing has made me love this city even more than I did before!”

Cities like new York or new Orleans are a few exceptions where people completely detest football as a sport and do not have a very high opinion about it. But the above story is a fine example that it where two detractors turned into diehard fans of a sport that they largely hated some time back and now aspire to become one themselves in the near future. For people with similar interests, all you have to do is to get the football index referral code from the site to polish their skills.

Comments are closed.