As Saints season ticket holders, we get first dibs on our own seats when the Saints have a playoff game in the Superdome. This season, both our games will be at home in the Dome and the Who Dat Nation couldn’t be happier.
It was a perfect day starting with a walk through the French Quarter past bars filled with black-and-gold-wearing fans. We made a few stops to have drinks with friends we spotted. Spirits were high, the music was loud and it felt a lot like 9 years ago when the team went all the way, winning their first Super Bowl. It was the first time the team had even been to the Super Bowl at all. The victory marked a rebirth for the city. As recently departed Saints owner, Tom Benson, said, “The best thing we can do for New Orleans is WIN. Our city holds its head higher, walks taller and shines brighter when the Saints win.” That quote shone over today’s victory courtesy of the end zone screen.
Champion’s Square was packed when we finally arrived with a hour still to go before the game. Big Sam’s Funky Nation kept the crowd moving with originals and party covers. Then the MC promised a surprise for the crowd. We’d been hearing rumors all week that Choppa might make an appearance to perform his recently reborn hit, Choppa Style. Sure enough, the stage filled with Saints Superfans forming a dance-line backdrop and Choppa took the stage to a wave of cheers and cell phones recording the moment. It was a blast.
We headed in and ran into a couple of my Pussyfooters sisters (women I dance with in the Mardi Gras parades). Taking our seats, the other season ticket holders in our section offered hugs, high fives and Who Dats. The lights went out and the place went berserk. I never like to pull out my phone once the game has started, but I broke that rule to capture some of the moments.
The Preservation Jazz Hall Band performed the National Anthem in a truly only-in-New-Orleans way, breaking it down into a Dixieland Jazz type beat. Now I kinda feel like everyone should have to perform it that way in the Dome. A bunch of former Saints from the Super Bowl winning team gathered in a group to lead the chants of Who Dat. It was all thrilling.
It was easy to keep the faith when the Eagles scored their first touchdown. We’d been predicting our Saints would give up the first touchdown since before the Anthem. The second Eagles’ touchdown didn’t go down as smoothly. The already deafening Dome cranked it up another notch, blasting past previous noise records. On the unofficial meter they sometimes show onscreen I saw us hit over 122 (I’d heard the previous record was 121). I didn’t keep my eye on it but I twice caught numbers over 128. Like movie magic, the tide turned and the Eagles never scored another point as we racked them up.
Halftime was Saint Augustine’s Marching 100 and Grammy winners Rebirth Brass Band. We got crunk to the Ying Yang Twins, rolled our arms to Big Tymers’ Get Your Roll On, and went crazy over Choppa Style. The players on the sideline, and even on the field, danced along and the Eagles fans sitting in our sections were overheard to say, “That was pretty cool.” Yes it was.
Can’t wait for next week!