Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Happy Mardi Gras!

Hail Bacchus!

Bacchus - Drew Brees

Orpheus - Saints Head Coach Sean Payton with LSU Baseball Coach Paul Mainieri

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — One of the most accurate arms in the NFL had no trouble finding receivers Sunday night.

Thousands lined the streets to catch small, foam footballs thrown by Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees while he served as monarch of Bacchus, one of the biggest parades of the Carnival season that culminates in Mardi Gras.

The New Orleans Saints quarterback threw 10,000 black and gold footballs, along with the usual beads and doubloons, from his perch atop the float that was designed to look like a Roman chariot. Brees dressed as the Roman god of wine in a short gold and red tunic, gold boots and cape and a crown of gold grape leaves.

A cadre of police officers and parade officials had to accompany Brees from the limo that dropped him off at his float. He was accompanied by his wife, Brittany, who wore a white gown and gold crown. An eager crowd chanted his name and the familiar "Who Dat" cry of Saints fans.

The usual Mardi Gras colors of purple, green and gold were replaced along the parade route with the black and gold of the Saints jerseys worn by thousands.

"I missed the Saints parade," said Henry Exterstern, 50, of New Orleans. "No way I was going to miss him this time."

It was the second parade this week for Brees, after the Super Bowl victory parade Tuesday that celebrated the Saints' win over the Indianapolis Colts a week ago.

Sunday's parade appeared to get an attendance boost from the presence of Brees.

"This is a mad house," said Jennifer LeBlanc, 34, who said she sees the parade every year. "This is the biggest crowd I've ever seen. And every one is having a great time."

Brees began throwing the beads and footballs as soon as he boarded the float, giving a thumbs up to people who caught them.

As the float began to move, Brees took the microphone and chanted, "Who Dat, Who Dat."

"We love you New Orleans," he shouted. "Hail Bacchus."

The final weekend of Carnival saw dozens of parades roll throughout the New Orleans area. Another huge parade, Orpheus, is scheduled for Monday. More parades will roll on Tuesday, or Mardi Gras, when businesses will also be closed and the French Quarter and the parade routes will be crowded with revelers.

It all comes to a close at midnight Tuesday as police clear Bourbon Street and the heavily Catholic city welcomes Lent.

Check out the article at The Advocate.

We skipped out on New Orleans this year… it had to be freaking' crazy down there! Had a great time at Spanish Town and Poseidon, tho!

Drew Brees has sure had his share of parades in the past week... first in Disney, then the Krewe of Champions, then there he is again as the King of Bacchus! Classic pic of Sean Payton wearing LSU Beads with Paul Mainieri holding the Lombardi Trophy right before Orpheus rolled!

Hope everyone enjoyed the carnival season! No more King Cake until next year! :(

Friday, February 12, 2010

XXXpress It!!!


Spanish Town Mardi Gras 2010

Spanish Town Mardi Gras 2010

Spanish Town Mardi Gras 2010

Spanish Town Mardi Gras 2010

The theme says it all.

"XXXpress It!" As if the Spanish Town parade wasn’t naughty enough already!

Locals have come to expect  lots of risqué  behavior at this long and winding, flamingo-ey festival — a pink parade of adult-themed humor. What else could you expect from groups with names like The Wasted Krewe, I-Da-Ho Potato Queens, or Krewe of Mixed Nuts?

The organizers of Spanish Town take delight in creating controversy, lampooning locals and poking political fun at the newsmakers of the past year. Be prepared to see outrageous costumes and floats that demand a double take. And don't be surprised at the throws you might see sailing through the air!

Spanish Town traditionally draws large crowds, including families. Probably one of the tamer spots to view the parade is from the alcohol-free family zone located on the north side of Convention Street between 5th and 7th streets, according to Board president Bruce Childers.

The parade starts at noon Saturday and features 70 floats this year. The 2010 dignitaries include King Tom Sylvest, Queen Liz Walker and Grand Marshal Nick Spitzer.

(And in all fairness, the “XXX” theme also refers to the krewe’s 30th anniversary.) Go to http://www.spanishtownmardigras.com for more information.


While Spanish Town is winding down, members of the brand-new Krewe of Poseidon will be gearing up for their parade, which will begin about 4 p.m.

“Please wait for us,” said Kathy Farber, who with husband Steven, founded Poseidon last year. “We promise it will be worth the wait.”

The co-ed krewe has adopted the theme “Mardi Gras Myths and Legends,” illustrated by 14 floats and about 50 more units, including several bands, the LSU Tiger Girls, and many dance groups. Special throws include the krewe’s collectible polystone pendants  and illuminated seahorses, as well as an oversized plush blue and silver Silvio the Seahorse.

Grand marshals are Randy Jackson from the band Zebra and local blues artist Chris LeBlanc. Don’t miss the krewe’s mascot, Neptune, and his walking fish.

“We’re also very proud of our Dreams Come True Foundation float,” Farber said. “We heard that there were a lot of children with serious illnesses who loved Mardi Gras and had never ridden in a parade before, so we thought it would be wonderful to invite them to ride with us and give them the gift of a special Mardi Gras experience. It’s our way of doing something for our community.”

For more information, go to http://www.spanishtownmardigras.com.


The Krewe of Southdowns parade kicks off the weekend tonight at 7 p.m. with a route that winds through that normally quiet neighborhood.

The theme this year is “Southdowns Really Cooks” and the krewe royalty includes Grand Marshal Mike Futrell, King Gus Wilkes and Queen Kate Kane LaBorde.

The nighttime procession starts at Lee High School and features lighted floats, lots of music and flambeau carriers.

For more information, visit www.southdowns.org.


A historical moment will take place Sunday, Feb. 14, in New Orleans, from the balcony of the Astor Crowne Plaza Hotel, according to the captains of Orpheus and Bacchus.

While the Bacchus parade pauses on Canal Street, Orpheus nobility Coach Sean Payton will salute Bacchus Monarch Drew Brees.

The toasting tradition between the two super krewes began in 2003, and the New Orleans Saints’ Superbowl last Sunday win makes the tradition a Mardi Gras moment to remember.

Check out the article at The Advocate.

Can you believe that it SNOWED this morning?!?!? I wonder if the Saints have anything to do with that?

Looks like another awesome lineup of parades in Red Stick this weekend… and we're not afraid of a little cold weather!

Besides, I gotta go see our TigerToons artist King Tom Sylvest!!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Krewe of Champions!!!

WHO DAT? - New Orleans Saints - Super Bowl 44 Champions!

WHO DAT? - New Orleans Saints - Super Bowl 44 Champions!

WHO DAT? - New Orleans Saints - Super Bowl 44 Champions!

WHO DAT? - New Orleans Saints - Super Bowl 44 Champions!

WHO DAT? - New Orleans Saints - Super Bowl 44 Champions!

WHO DAT? - New Orleans Saints - Super Bowl 44 Champions!

WHO DAT? - New Orleans Saints - Super Bowl 44 Champions!

WHO DAT? - New Orleans Saints - Super Bowl 44 Champions!

WHO DAT? - New Orleans Saints - Super Bowl 44 Champions!

WHO DAT? - New Orleans Saints - Super Bowl 44 Champions!

NEW ORLEANS — Only a Super Bowl victory parade could upstage Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

Carnival floats carrying Saints players, coaches and team owner Tom Benson rolled past tens of thousands of jubilant fans in downtown New Orleans on Tuesday, two days after the 43-year-old franchise won its first NFL championship.

Players, wearing team jerseys instead of traditional Carnival masks and costumes, tossed beads into the crowd and signed autographs for throngs of screaming fans. Benson shouted “Who Dat!” into a microphone from his perch atop a float. Head coach Sean Payton blew kisses and held the Lombardi Trophy over his head.

“Here’s to the best Mardi Gras week in the history of this city,” Payton said, raising a glass of champagne during a toast outside the city’s historic Gallier Hall.

The parade, a week before the city’s signature Fat Tuesday celebration, started outside their home turf at the Louisiana Superdome. Black, gold and white confetti floated over the crowd and a man wearing a Saints jacket held aloft a sign that read, “Happy Lombardi Gras!”

The floats stopped at a reviewing stand so elected officials, including Mayor Ray Nagin, Gov. Bobby Jindal and Sens. Mary Landrieu and David Vitter, could toast the team’s 31-17 win over the Indianapolis Colts.

“How’s the ‘Who Dat’ nation feel tonight?” Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees yelled when his float stopped at the reviewing stand. “This toast goes out to you. We love you and we won that championship for you.”

Ten Carnival krewes lent floats for the team to ride. More than a dozen marching bands joined the team on its route, which passed by the edge of the French Quarter and ended at the city’s convention center. An official crowd estimate wasn’t immediately available, but many fans said the gathering seemed larger than any during Mardi Gras.

“This is wilder than Mardi Gras,” said Frank V. Smith, 55, a lifelong New Orleans resident who shot photographs of players from the rear of a pickup truck. “I’ve never seen so many people out here like this. This is beautiful, man.”

Shannon Cobb, 28, of Metairie, said the parade was a party with a purpose.

“Everybody is here for one reason: their love for the city and their love for the Saints and to show our appreciation for what they’ve done for us,” she said.

The Super Bowl win, which capped just the ninth winning season in franchise history, was a stunning reversal of fortunes for a team once derided as the “Aints.” Few players could appreciate that better than fan favorite Deuce McAllister, the team’s retired all-time leading rusher who joined the team on the sidelines for the Super Bowl.

“It’s been pretty crazy,” he said Tuesday. “Everywhere you go, you can see the pride in the fans.”

Fans are grateful for more than just the team’s on-field performance. Many members of “Who Dat” nation credit the team with uniting a city that has struggled with racial divisions and labored to rebuild in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which left about 85 percent of the city underwater in August 2005.

“After the hurricane, people were more willing to come back when they realized the Saints were coming back,” said Scott Catalanotto, 35, whose 7-year-old son sat on a ladder and yelled for beads.

In the French Quarter, thousands streamed toward the parade route, turning Bourbon Street into a river of black and gold.

Will Kaplan, 28, stood out in a billowing white toga with a gold-colored halo and the word “Breesus” on his back.

His Jesus-inspired costume, he said, was made from sheets he had in a FEMA trailer he stayed in after Hurricane Katrina on the University of New Orleans campus.

“I’m the spirit of the party,” he said.

Enduring chilly, windy weather under overcast skies, fans started staking out spots along the parade route more than seven hours before the floats rolled.

Tim Thorn, a 35-year-old landscaper, drove in from Baton Rouge to be among the early birds. He said he gave his daughters, Cameron and Carson, the day off school because the event was too big to miss.

“It’s probably the biggest party in the world,” he said.

Check out the article at The Advocate.

The Saints' win in Super Bowl 44 has brought about MANY firsts! For starters, this was the first appearance in the Super Bowl for the Saints. Next, Super Bowl XLIV was watched by more than 106 million people - setting a new record. Not to mention… this parade was the first time that floats from different krewes rode together in the same parade! I'd also have to speculate that this was the biggest & best Super Bowl parade EVER!!!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Who Dat Nation: Saints become America's Team

WHO DAT? - New Orleans Saints - Super Bowl 44 Champions!

WHO DAT? - New Orleans Saints - Super Bowl 44 Champions!

WHO DAT? - New Orleans Saints - Super Bowl 44 Champions!

WHO DAT? - New Orleans Saints - Super Bowl 44 Champions!

MIAMI (AP) — Marshall Faulk ran as far as he could from the dead-end Desire Projects. He bolted the New Orleans streets to play college ball in San Diego, then blossomed into an NFL star with the Indianapolis Colts.

Forced to take sides in this Super Bowl, it was easy. Faulk rooted for his roots.

From President Barack Obama to a Queen, from Mr. Big to Miss America, the retired All-Pro had lots of company. For one game, the Saints were America's Team — champions, too, after a 31-17 win over the Colts on Sunday night.

"We played for so much more than ourselves," quarterback and Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees said.

That's for sure, Faulk said.

"This is very important to the city," he said a few days ago. "For the last five, maybe 10 years, whether it's Katrina, or the crime rate, the city's always in a bad light. Now ... you're getting to see some of the great things that we have to offer."

French Quarter hotels and restaurants filled up as Sunday's game between the Colts and Saints approached, with fans streaming into Louisiana hoping to begin celebrating a week ahead of Mardi Gras.

Almost 4½ years after flooding from Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and nearly chased the Saints out of town for good, the club's first Super Bowl win may well represent the city's rebirth.

"You can't put it into words," receiver Marques Colston said after the win. "This city and region have been through so much."

Even the Colts grasped the soulful connection between the Saints and their town.

"There's a reason America is pulling for New Orleans, and why wouldn't they? They've been through a lot," Indianapolis safety Antoine Bethea said recently. "Sports tends to pull people together, so it's commendable for New Orleans to be, as I guess you'd say, America's Team right now."

Who Dat! That's the shortened version of the team's rally cry: "Who dat, who dat, who dat say gonna beat dem Saints?"

Egged on by New Orleans players, Saints fans started that loud, familiar chant inside Sun Life Stadium an hour before kickoff. Adorned in black-and-gold beads, toting parasols in team colors and stirred by a brass band, they paraded outside. Clearly, they needed no prompting to start the party.

Long after the final whistle, Saints fans lingered inside, chanting and cheering. It was a win many of them thought they may never see. The franchise began playing in 1967, one year after the first Super Bowl, and had never reached the big game.

Perhaps the Saints' biggest fan — literally — is the NBA's Shaquille O'Neal, the 7-foot-plus Cleveland Cavaliers center who got his start at LSU.

"It's good for the city, the economy and the organization. When I went to school, they had, like, a 99-year curse and hopefully that curse is over," O'Neal said. "They haven't won it at all. They haven't always had bad seasons but they've always had, like, one play — a missed field goal or a fumble or somebody getting hurt — and now this is their chance."

The Saints have managed only nine winning seasons in their 43-year history, with blooper tapes often replacing highlight reels. Try as they might, their fleur-de-lis logo often stood for losing.

But the emblem took on a different meaning this week in South Florida. It came to symbolize the Saints' spiritual connection to New Orleans — and hope for a city that once had little.

The Superdome, which hosts the 2013 Super Bowl, was an even more tangible example of the town's renaissance.

In the days after Katrina, the stadium became a place of last resort, with perhaps 30,000 helpless, homeless people trapped inside without plumbing or power. When the Saints beat Brett Favre and Minnesota in overtime for the NFC championship, the dome was packed again — this time with jubilant fans toasting their heroes.

Obama found himself drifting in their direction, even though the Colts were still five-point favorites.

"I do have a soft spot in my heart for New Orleans, mainly because of what the city's gone through over these last several years and I just know how much that team means to them," he said during a pregame interview broadcast by CBS.

Made sense to Queen Latifah, who sang "America the Beautiful" before the game. She's worked and lived in New Orleans.

"It would be kind of fun, it'd be almost a Cinderella story to see the Saints come through against someone who's as strong and dominant and skillful as Peyton Manning and the Colts," she said.

Ah, Manning. He's a four-time Most Valuable Player and was MVP of the Colts' Super Bowl win three years ago. He's also from New Orleans, where Brees is now the star quarterback.

"It's a special place to me. My family lives there," Manning said. "What Drew, and really the entire Saints team have meant to that community has been extremely impressive. Being a fellow New Orleanian, I certainly appreciate it."

The Manning vs. Brees matchup attracted a lot of pregame attention. Comedian Chris Rock liked the Saints because of their QB.

"Just for a practical reason, not a sentimental one," Rock said. "Drew Brees has been as good as Peyton Manning the last two years."

New Orleans linebacker Scott Fujita left the Cowboys after the 2005 season and signed with the Saints seven months after Katrina.

"The Saints are America's adopted team. There's no question about it," he said. "When I chose to leave Dallas, everybody said, 'Why would you leave Dallas? They're America's team.'

"Well, they were self-proclaimed America's Team a couple decades ago, and they have really, really good, loyal fans, but the rest of the country hates them. I mean, let's be honest," he said. "So New Orleans, yeah, you've got people all over the country who are pulling for us for so many reasons and really, really valid reasons."

Echoed NFL commissioner Roger Goodell: "It's a great success story for us, and while I can't root for a team, I'm really proud of what happened there and I'm thrilled for the people of the Gulf Coast."

"I don't think that can be stated enough," Saints safety Darren Sharper said. "It's just a close tie between the city and the team. Everyone says, 'Are you guys playing for the community? Are you guys playing for New Orleans?' We think that we are."

Check out the article at The Advocate.

Of course they're "America's Team," now that they've won… yeah, and pigs can fly! As usual, the media is going to run this into the ground until everyone is a Saints hater. It doesn't matter - down here, the Saints are ALWAYS our team, even if we have to wear paper bags to the game.

WHO DAT?!?!?

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Saints Win Super Bowl - Hell Freezes Over!

WHO DAT? - New Orleans Saints - Super Bowl 44 Champions!

WHO DAT? - New Orleans Saints - Super Bowl 44 Champions!

WHO DAT? - New Orleans Saints - Super Bowl 44 Champions!

WHO DAT? - New Orleans Saints - Super Bowl 44 Champions!

WHO DAT? - New Orleans Saints - Super Bowl 44 Champions!

WHO DAT? - New Orleans Saints - Super Bowl 44 Champions!

WHO DAT? - New Orleans Saints - Super Bowl 44 Champions!

WHO DAT? - New Orleans Saints - Super Bowl 44 Champions!

WHO DAT? - New Orleans Saints - Super Bowl 44 Champions!

WHO DAT? - New Orleans Saints - Super Bowl 44 Champions!

WHO DAT? - New Orleans Saints - Super Bowl 44 Champions!

WHO DAT? - New Orleans Saints - Super Bowl 44 Champions!

MIAMI — Who dat say dey gonna beat dem Saints? The amazing, long-anticipated answer has come.

Nobody. Not when it mattered most.

Putting a bold exclamation point on what was already a storybook season, the New Orleans Saints beat the Indianapolis Colts 31-17 Sunday night in Super Bowl XLIV.

Quarterback Drew Brees passed for 288 yards and two touchdowns, and Port Allen native Tracy Porter returned an interception 74 yards for the clinching score to make New Orleans’ first Super Bowl trip in its 43-year history a success.

“It was all meant to be,” said Brees, named the game’s Most Valuable Player, speaking of his decision to come to the team and of the team’s ultimate moment. “It was all destiny.”

As the final seconds ticked off the Sun Life Stadium clock, the Saints gave head coach Sean Payton the obligatory Gatorade shower, lifted him to their shoulders and began a celebration amid confetti and fireworks, as thousands of Who Dat supporters stood at their seats and partied like it was New Year’s Eve and Fat Tuesday combined.

And who could blame them?

A franchise that contemplated leaving New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina trashed the city and its stadium in 2005 now brings the Vince Lombardi Trophy to a region that has seldom had reason to even dream such a thing could happen.

The win came almost 30 years to the day after one of sports’ greatest upsets, the Miracle on Ice. It matters little that, facing the 5‰-point favorite Colts, New Orleans wasn’t as big an underdog as the U.S. Olympic ice hockey team that beat the Soviet Union juggernaut in the 1980 Winter Olympics.

That year the Saints won only one game. But if Sunday’s game didn’t erase the memory of New Orleans fans wearing bags on their heads, it showed that these are not the latter-day Aints.

Facing a likely future Hall of Fame quarterback for the third consecutive game — and this time it was one who grew up in the Superdome’s shadow and as the son of one of the bad old days’ few stars — New Orleans was superior on both offense and, more surprisingly, defense.

Peyton Manning was trying to lead the Colts to their second Super Bowl title in four years and have a Manning hold the Lombardi Trophy for the third time in that span. (Younger brother Eli won it with the New York Giants in 2008.) Such heights are far loftier than their father, Archie, experienced while never enjoying a winning Saints season from 1971-82.

New Orleans frustrated Manning as it had Kurt Warner and Brett Favre in the playoffs. Though he completed 31 of 45 passes for 333 yards, only one was for a touchdown, as the Saints didn’t allow him to create the big plays that have been his hallmark.

When New Orleans took a 24-17 lead with 5:42 left, Manning had plenty of time to tie the game. But that is where Porter made the biggest play of his athletic life. On third-and-5 at the New Orleans 31, the cornerback stepped in front of a throw to Reggie Wayne and, after a couple of cuts, took it past a delirious Saints bench for a touchdown and a 31-17 lead with 3:12 left.

“When I saw my blockers in front of me and only Peyton (Manning) and the offensive linemen left, I cut back and ran it in,” Porter said.

Manning marched the Colts as far as the New Orleans 3, but his last-gasp pass bounced off Wayne’s hands with 44 seconds left to play, and the stadium began to rock.

After falling behind 10-0, the Saints climbed back with a combination of execution and a gambler’s nerve. The bold play didn’t always work. Instead of asking Garrett Hartley to kick a chip-shot field goal in the second quarter, Payton tried to run it in from the 1, and linebackers Gary Brackett and Clint Session stopped Pierre Thomas cold.

So, Payton doubled down.

Trailing 10-6 at the half, he surprised everyone with an onside kick that reserve safety Chris Reis recovered at the Saints 42. It ignited a drive that led to New Orleans’ first touchdown, a 16-yard screen pass to Thomas, and its first lead, 13-10. Though Manning would answer with a drive punctuated by former LSU star Joseph Addai’s 4-yard touchdown run, Brees responded in moving the Saints to one of Hartley’s three field goals and a 2-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jeremy Shockey. A two-point conversion pass to Lance Moore gave the Saints a 24-17 edge.

“Ever since you start playing football, you’re dreaming about playing in this game,” Shockey said. “I dreamed and prayed all day and night about being in the situation I’m in right now.”

More than an hour after the game, the chants of hundreds of other black-and-gold-clad fellow dreamers were chanting their team’s famous question.

It was, of course, rhetorical. At long last, they had the answer they wanted.

Check out the article at The Advocate.

WHO DAT??? What an excellent football game!!!

Of course (to those who don't know), the title of this post is an old joke that we 'Aints fans USED TO say. But, no more!!!

Friday, February 05, 2010

Super Mardi Gras Bowl!!!

Who Dat? - Geaux Saints!

Who Dat? - Geaux Saints!

Who Dat? - Geaux Saints!

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Mardi Gras falls on a Sunday this year.

The city of the Saints is filling up with ex-New Orleanians and others ahead of the Super Bowl, many looking to cast off a legacy of football futility and natural disaster - others just looking to party down in one of the world's greatest party towns.

"We're gearing up for Sunday just like Mardi Gras day," said Earl Bernhardt, a bar owner in the French Quarter. "We're staffing just like we do for Mardi Gras, and if the Saints win, we won't close at all. We'll stay open as long as people are standing." After 43 years in existence, the Saints will make their Super Bowl debut in Miami on Sunday, facing the favored Indianapolis Colts.

Fans from most cities would be headed to South Florida about now. But for ex-pat New Orleanians, the game is triggering a pilgrimage home. And for everybody back in town, the party's already started.

A few are taking the week off in the countdown to game day. Others are punching the clock, but not getting much done. Saints jerseys, "Who Dat?" T-shirts and black and gold beads are the uniform everywhere you go.

The French Quarter's narrow streets also are awash in the team colors. As revelers cruise down its streets, strangers give each other high-fives.

"It's been all Saints all the time," said Steve Sabrier, an oil field worker who marched from the Superdome to the French Quarter after the NFC championship. "I pity anybody who needs something done in New Orleans these days. We can't concentrate on anything but the game."

Sister Mary Rose, a Dominican nun who attends every Saints game and teaches at a Catholic school in the Quarter, said the feeling of sheer excitement in the city is almost tangible. "I think 'exuberant joy' is the word," the nun said. "And it has brought such a unity to us, such a bond between all the people here it's just amazing."

Meanwhile, in Atlanta, New Orleans transplant Belinda Hernandez vowed to be in Miami if the Saints made the big game.

"But seeing the fever pitch in New Orleans and knowing how we party, I changed my mind," Hernandez said.

"Who wants to be on Miami Beach when they can be in the French Quarter with the Who Dats for the game?"

So Hernandez turned down some friends in South Florida, who offered to get her tickets.

Besides being Super Bowl weekend, this is the start of carnival season that ends Feb. 16 on the real Mardi Gras. There are four parades scheduled in New Orleans on Saturday and two on Sunday - but they're rolling early to avoid conflicting with the game.

All eyes on the game, starting Sunday at 5:25 p.m. local time.

Mary Beth Romig of the New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau says there's no question the Saints have created something special - this time for the city's tourist trade.

"This is turning into a very big weekend for the hotels in downtown New Orleans and the French Quarter," said Romig. "We did a survey and hotels are running about 90 percent full late in the week, and that jumps to 95 percent on Sunday. People are definitely coming to New Orleans for Super Bowl."

Sorry, Colts fans, but it's a different story up north.

Kimberly Harms, a spokeswoman for the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association, said there was no noticeable jump in hotel occupancy there for the weekend. She noted, however that one hotel had set aside 44 rooms at the special rate of $144 in honor of the 44th Super Bowl. If Indianapolis wins, she said, the rooms will be free for those staying in them.

At New Orleans' Roosevelt Hotel, an upscale hotel where suites start at $259 a night and go up, marketing director Mark Wilson said they are seeing a "huge surge" of people who want to celebrate the Super Bowl in New Orleans.

"Let's face it, not everybody can get a ticket to the game," Wilson said. "And a lot of people seem to think being in New Orleans is a good alternative."

The Roosevelt is about 80 percent booked, which is 10 percent to 15 percent more than normal for a weekend with no convention in town, Wilson said. The big seller is the hotel suites, with much of the business coming from Texas, Mississippi and Alabama.

"People are booking the entertainment suites, which are great for parties of 25, 35 people," he said.

"Some are probably just people looking for a party. But a lot are former residents, I think. People in New Orleans have looked for this day a long time and now they want to be here for it."

Police will increase their coverage in the French Quarter this weekend, adding approximately 600 officers, police spokesman Bob Young said. That's about the number the city would deploy if New Orleans were hosting the game.

Rick Watson, and his wife, Katherine, are among the natives coming back.

Now residents of North Carolina, 35-year-old Watson said it took them a long time to believe the Saints had really made the big game, but not much time to decide where to watch it.

"When something big happens, you go home, and this is big," Watson said. "Besides, where would you rather be if the Saints win, the French Quarter or Miami? Even if they lose you want to be in New Orleans."

Check out the article at The Advocate.

Who Dat? Geaux Saints!!!

Check out the Saints Photo Gallery

Who Dat? - Geaux Saints!

A Letter to Miami…

Dear Miami,

The Saints are coming. And so are we, their loyal, long-suffering and slightly discombobulated Super Bowl-bound fans.

While there's still time to prepare -- although a few hard-core Who Dats will begin trickling in Monday, most of us won't arrive until Thursday or Friday -- we thought we'd give you a heads-up about what you should expect.

First things first: You need more beer. Yeah, we know. You ordered extra. You think you have more than any group of humans could possibly consume in one week. Trust us. You don't. New Orleans was a drinking town long before the Saints drove us to drink. But it turns out beer tastes better when you're winning. (Who knew?) So let's just say we're thirsty for more than a championship; adjust your stockpiles accordingly.

And look. When we ask you for a go-cup, be nice to us. We don't even know what "open container law" means. Is that anything like "last call"?

It's Carnival season in New Orleans (that's Mardi Gras to you), and we'll be taking the celebration on the road. So don't be startled if you walk past us and we throw stuff at you; that's just our way of saying hello.

Oh, and sorry in advance about those beads we leave dangling from your palm trees. We just can't help ourselves.

February is also crawfish season, and you can be sure that more than one enterprising tailgater will figure out a way to transport a couple sacks of live mudbugs and a boiling pot to Miami.

When the dude in the 'Who Dat' T-shirt asks if you want to suck da head and pinch da tail, resist the urge to punch him. He's not propositioning you. He's inviting you to dinner.

And if you see a big Cajun guy who looks exactly like an old Saints quarterback walking around town in a dress ...don't ask. It's a long story. We know that crowd control is a major concern for any Super Bowl host city. Our advice? Put away the riot gear.

Reason No. 1: Indianapolis is going to lose, and their fans are way too dull to start a riot.

Reason No. 2: New Orleans showed the world on Sunday that we know how to throw a victory party. We don't burn cars. We dance on them.

Reason No. 3: Even if we did lose, which we won't, leaving the stadium would be like leaving a funeral, and our typical response to that is to have a parade.

Speaking of which: If you happen to see a brass band roll by, followed by a line of folks waving their handkerchiefs, you're not supposed to just stand there and watch. As our own Irma Thomas would say, get your backfield in motion.

And hey, Mister DJ! Yes, we know you've already played that stupid Ying Yang Twins song 10 times tonight, but indulge us just one more time.

To us, "Halftime (Stand Up and Get Crunk)" isn't just a song; it's 576 points of good memories. It's the sound of a Drew Brees touchdown pass to Devery Henderson, a Pierre Thomas dive for first down on 4th-and-1, a Garrett Hartley field goal sailing through the uprights in overtime.

It's what a championship sounds like. You may get sick of hearing it. We won't. Encore, dammit.

Inside Sun Life Stadium, you may find your ears ringing more than usual. We're louder than other fans. Seven thousand of ours sound like 70,000 of theirs. Don't believe us? Ask the 12th man in the Vikings huddle.

Some people think it's just the Dome that heightens our volume. But you're about to discover a little secret: We can scream loud enough to make your head explode, indoors or out.

It's not the roof. It's the heart. Well, OK, and the beer.

Don't be surprised if there are more Saints fans outside the stadium than inside. A lot of us are coming just to say we were part of history, even if we can't witness it up close. The Saints are family to us, and you know how it is with family: We want to be there for them, whether they really need us or not. Because we know our presence will mean something to them, whether they can see us or not.

Come to think of it, seeing as how you're taking us in for the week, we pretty much regard you as family, too. So we're warning you now: If you're within hugging distance, you're fair game.

Hugging strangers is a proud Who Dat tradition, right up there with crying when we win.

Most sports fans cry when their teams lose. Not us. We've been losing gracefully and with good humor for 43 years. Tragedy and disappointment don't faze us. It's success that makes us go to pieces.

Hurricane Katrina? We got that under control. The Saints in the Super Bowl? SOMEBODY CALL A PARAMEDIC!!!

So anyway, don't let the tears of joy freak you out. We're just ... disoriented.

OK. Let's review:

Order more beer. Throw me something, mister. Suck da heads. Wear da dress. Stand up. Get crunk. Hug it out. Protect your eardrums. Pass the Kleenex. Hoist the trophy.

See you at the victory party.

Faithfully yours,
The Who Dat Nation