Who Dat

It was December 2, 2007 in the Super Dome in New Orleans. Top Cat was taking me to the first professional football game I’ve ever seen in person: the Saints v. the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

As a nation, we all have ugly memories of The Super Dome during the Hurricane Katrina . It says a lot about the city of New Orleans that they are BACK, and that they were back that day in 2007, back in the Dome once again, throwing a huge fancy-dress Sunday afternoon party just like in the old days.  And oh yeah, there was a football game to boot.

This guy (above) in the white Saints sweatshirt was a true son of the Cresent City. He was the mayor of our row of seats way up high in the nosebleed section.

Because when the Saints were leading in the 4th quarter and the out-of-town Buccanner fans were sitting quietly, waiting for the inevitable, the Mayor of Section 618 was not having it.  No sir. No blues on his watch, not in the Super Dome, not on a Sunday afternoon. He turned to the  glum Buccaneer fans (that’s them, wearing the team color: red) and said:

Hey!   Why you sad?!    You in  New Orleans  baby!”

There was only 3 minutes and 36 seconds left in the game, the Saints had a 23-20  lead. All they had to do was run out the clock. But they ain’t called “The Aint’s” for nothing.

Burdened by the lack of an effective running game, and attempting to run out the clock on the division-leading Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Saints coach called a trick play to catch the Tampa Bay defense by surprise.  But Tampa Bay’s defensive front was not fooled. Running back Reggie Bush fumbled the ball and Tampa Bay defensive tackle Jovan Haye recovered it at the Saint’s 37-yard line. Seven plays later, the Buccaneers scored on a 4-yard touchdown pass with 14 seconds remaining on the clock, giving the Buccaneers a 27-23 victory.

The next day, all the headlines in the papers roared about the loss. Editorials were written calling for a clean sweep of all the knuckleheads who had effectively ended the Saints season (no hope for playoff games) with 3:36 left in the year.

But the thing that I will never forget is the Mayor of Section 618. Because win or lose, this guy was rejoicing in the wonderful fate that had brought all of us in Section 618 together to the Super Dome that Sunday afternoon in the immortal city of New Orleans.

His rallying cry, which he shouted at the top of his voice when he stood facing us  (all his constituents in Section 618) while waving his arms up at us all, was:

We  Are  Who  We  Say  We   Are!!

We Are Who We Say We Are.

I have no idea what that means. But it’s my rallying cry, whenever I need a New Orleans state of mind. (And don’t we all? Every once in a while?)

 We Are Who We Say We Are.

I just wanted to tell this story before the Big Game, to put in my voodoo for America’s team this Sunday.

We  Are  Who  We  Say  We  Are.

P.S. Monday morning: Long Live New Orleans!

7 comments to Who Dat

  • Rachel

    Hi Vivian, This is mostly WAAAY off of this topic, but first thank you so much for that story. I will hold a good thought for *our* team.

    I am reading A Voyage Long and Strange by Tony Horwitz. On the Trail of vikings, Conquistadors, lost Colonists and other Adventurers in Early America. It is a great book about Wanderers and Wandering.

    In the chapter about Columbus in what is now the Dominican Republic he mentions a document from 1494 listing items needed for the Admiral and his household, includiing mattresses made of *fine Brittany linen, silk cloth, tapestries depicting trees, brass candlesticks, and TWELVE BOXES OF QUINCE PRESERVE.*

    Gotta love it. Rachel

  • Jackie

    Good Morning To The East Coast….Just awoke with CATrina hunkering on my shoulder, her little paws securing her position, her sweet little black face peering down into my mine. Finally shaking off a week of nasty flu and was considering making 6 hr. drive back north to my island. Good weather and with football on Sunday there should be less travelers on I5. But, now that I have begun this day I don’t know….maybe I might just stay and root for the SAINTS, Enjoy the WHO at 1/2 time, rest 1 more day…..Rachel: thanks for picking up on the quince preserve mention. I love trekking with Horwitz!! Right in the middle of writing this I connected with my Haitian friend who is on the way to her home …. to start a wonderful project (farming and preserving produce) for her family’s community in N. Haiti. She too had a LIST of things needed. Not silk or linen, but such as sleeping bags and tools, …what a quince-idence that these lists show up today with Vivian’s voodoo because it is, of course, all right back where it started. I am sure the sentiment of A New Orleans State of Mind and WE ARE WHO WE SAY WE ARE rallies Haitians at this time. Saints preserve us!! GO SAINTS!!

  • I’m really not interested in football but this story made me want to watch the game.
    What if this guy was the mayor of New Orleans? Wouldn’t that be great?
    I love his rallying cry!

  • Kim

    Tears in my eyes — What a great, great story of humanity, up close and personal.

    Awake all night (yawn), as our old Spot Cat (16 1/2 years old) was mrrrrowing throughout the house and scratching the furniture from 1 am til 6 am. (He sleeps like a baby all day.) Feline dementia is roarin’ his way, I’m afraid. :o(

    Love the Saints; love the Colts … But I’ve gotta say, I’ll be thrilled if those Saints go marchin’ on in and bring it home to Nah’lins.

  • Kim

    ps – Weird! Where’d that yellow faced emoticon come from in my post? (“Who DAT?”)

  • Rachel

    Jackie, thanks for sharing the story of your friend. And thanks also for reminding me of the Haiti/New Orleans connection. This is my first journey with Tony Horwitz, but it wont be the last.

    I am off this morning to revisit Pep Boys with my car. It is in a neighborhood east of here with strong Hispanic presance. If I survive the car further repair (I spent 8 hours there on Thurs) I should stop at a local grocery and seek out the magical Quince.

    Laisez le bon temps roller. Rachel

  • Jackie

    Sunday evening…Portland, Oregon
    Ready to roll tomorrow. Just had to say YAY SAINTS….so good for N’awlins, eh? Yesterday afternoon I noticed a fleur de lis on our mailbox, 1 of 4 for this old building. A sign for sure….voodoo moojoo getchu gummee. Thanks Vivian for these months of mind expansion….I had never ever watched a pro football game, live or otherwise. The Who were a treat….too sick this past 10 days to explore the many paint co. stores we have passed….but as soon as I return to my “studio” I will re-read all that has gone done here in regard art journaling. I didn’t even realize I was in class…well, had a new teacher in my life.

You must be logged in to post a comment.