The Saints are an iconic centerpiece of New Orleans. Although football season is technically September through February, the Saints are celebrated year-round here. One of my first memories of visiting Tulane was the enthusiastic exclamation “WHO DAT?!” from every Uber driver, hospitality employee and tourist I saw.
Many students at Tulane are not very well-versed in football, and who can blame them, Tulane is not a football school. But seeing the New Orleans Saints play a night game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome is an unforgettable experience. I grew up in New Jersey loving the New York Giants, but there is certainly a lack of passion amongst fans when I visit games. This couldn’t have been further from the truth in New Orleans.
Here’s what to expect at a Saints game:
Saints fans are THE most passionate fans of any sport in any city. Black and gold cover the streets, BBQs are being fired up alongside every sidewalk leading up to the stadium, local musicians play to hoards of dancing crowds, and “Who Dat?” screams echo off the buildings from every direction. The crowd in Champions Square (outside the stadium) starts growing pretty early, so give yourself a couple hours if you don’t have tickets!
If you expect to sit down and passively watch the game, you are sorely mistaken. While this may have been the standard at home, I was driven to my feet during every play. It is impossible not to feed off the energy and the enthusiasm from all of the other spectators around you.
And even if football isn’t your thing, these games have so much more to offer. The people watching opportunities are endless; make sure to look out for the Saints, which are a legendary group of men dressed as priests with the best signs. The games truly attract people from all walks of life, and everyone is connected through their love of the team.
When the Saints play defense, be prepared to lose your hearing for a few minutes. The crowd waves their towels with such vigor that I found myself getting hit in the face more than once. The stadium is filled with indistinguishable yells and stomping that results in a mind-numbing rumble. It’s one of the most incredible experiences. Even if you leave with a ringing in your ear, which you definitely will, it’s all for the love of the game.
No matter where you come from and who your “home team” is, watching the Saints play is an experience that you will remember forever. It’s a true Tulane bucket list item!
Pro tip: wait until the morning of a game, and you’ll likely be able to find tickets for very college student-affordable prices!
Cover Photo: Rachel Wine