Sunday, 12 December 2010 17:46
New Orleans Saints Super Bowl Championship Was Party Gras
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Summary: Who Dat hysteria hysteria reaches fever pitch before Super Bowl.

(The following excerpt from a new book ,"Black  and Gold Party Gras" is reprinted with permission from Black and Gold Party Gras Enterprises. The book features 675 photos of revelry and is available for $24.95 at

Saints play-by-play announcer Jim Henderson, who in August 2009 predicted a championship for New Orleans, called Super Bowl LIV on WWL Radio, "Get ready to party with the Lombardi, New Orleans!" he rejoiced as the final seconds ticked off the clock in the Saints momentous 31-17 victory over the Indianapolis Colts.

Moments later, the game's MVP, Drew Brees, was radiant in the Vince Lombardi Trophy presentation ceremony. With a sterling silver Tiffany football in hand, the Saints quarterback and team leader -- who came to New Orleans as if in a fairy \tale fantasy and helped galvanize an urban renewal movement -- reflected on the glorious convergence of a Saints championship and  the city's most distinctive civic ritual.

"Mardi Gras may never end," he said with a smile.  No question: The collective mania known as Mardi Gras Madness was about to acquirer a whole new meaning. The most jubilant party ever in America's most celebrated party town had begun with a redounding bang, Who Dat!

That was the Who Dat Nation -- famous for rambunctious fanfare -- was uniquely well equipped to celebrate the historic moments in the biggest way possible was never in doubt. For in the realm of revelry and creative self-expression -- dance, spirit songs, costumes, decorative regalia and homemade signs -- who Dats reign supreme.

Sure, the Raider Nation has its share if colorful, swashbuckling characters that look  as if they just stepped off the set of a Mad Max movie or sci-fi pirate adventure. But fans of the Oakland Raiders are a notoriously abrasive lot, reveling in a '"bad boy" image. and given to taunting fans of visiting teams.

By contrast,when fans of opposing teams come to New Orleans for games, they walk away  feeling like they've passed a good time, win or lose. Explained Keith Twitchell, president of of the Committee foe a Better New Orleans and a keen observer of the city's folkways: "We combine absolutely rabid Saints fans fanaticism with grace,Southern hospitality and obviously centuries of experience at partying."

However one chooses to define it, the hoopla surrounding the Saints says a lot about what makes New Orleans so weird and wonderful. Certainly, no other place on earth could have spawned the phenomenon the local media dubbed: "Who Dat hysteria."

The term "Who Dats," with roots in Africa American musical variety theater dating back to the late 1880s, had long been a popular rallying cry of Saints fans. Now it had become a catchphrase for the  over-the-top frenzy inspired by the new winning ways of a team with a long history of struggling to reward the devotion bestowed upon it. Mardi Gras 2010 would bear witness to the Who Dat Nation in the thrall of ecstatic redemption.

Sometimes a theme just begs to be milked for all it's worth. Such was the case with Hurricane Katrina at Mardi Gras 2006, and so it was again with the Saints.

For a citizenry so exceptionally well practiced in the art of diversion,having the climax of  Carnival come on the heels of a World Championship seemed more like a holy blessing than a fortuitous coincidence for if the triumph of the Saints was a destiny, as Brees himself believed -- "it was all meant to be" he said in the Lombardi ceremony -- then so, too, was the  happy proximity of the  Super Bowl to Fat Tuesday.

Even the most grizzled veterans of high times in the Crescent City had to pinch themselves, Could it possibly get any better than this? Get me in dat number, cher -- and throw me something black and gold, mister!

Here is the Saints schedule and that of Atlanta:

New Orleans Saints Football Schedule

New Orleans Saints at Baltimore Ravens Dec. 19

New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons Dec. 27

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints January 2

Atlanta Falcons Football Schedule

Atlanta Falcons at Seattle Seahawks Dec. 19

New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons Dec. 27

Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons January 2


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