Inside the Who Dat Nation

Not Just About Football But A Way of Life

Black and Gold Inside My Soul
It is again that time of year where the boys in black and gold hit the field hopefully repeating their historical Super Bowl win in 2010; something that inspired a City and a nation. It is also a time where members of the Who Dat Nation are out in full force beaming with local pride that goes far beyond football. It seems everywhere you turn you see the Fleur di Lis and people wearing Saints gear everywhere you go.
 
On game day, there are watch parties at homes, restaurants, bars you name it. But when it is game day there is no other City that does tailgating like those of the Who Dat Nation. John Robinson Jr. and his wife Aldrick Robinson have been tailgating before Hurricane Katrina. John is a true New Orleaninan who loves his Saints and his City. “We have been tailgating before Katrina, and we have been at the same spot since after Katrina. My wife makes jello shots during the week. We have beer, food, water and stuff for the kids; we have a DJ every week. Continuing he says, “This year we are traveling and will be tailgating with other fans for Saints games in Atlanta, Tampa, and Los Angeles. We have been season ticket holders since 2003. The Saints is more than just a football team to me. I have been a fan since I was a kid. I am from New Orleans, I was born and raised here and don’t plan on leaving my City. I am New Orleans, I’m Saints it’s me, it’s all in me. All my family members are Saints Fans. The team also means a lot to the community bringing people together of all backgrounds.”
 
Data News Weekly’s New Sports Show featuring Glenn Jones and Dineaux Hansen Giving you Everything Saints from a Local Perspective
This year Data News will take part in all things Who Dat Nation, where we will be live streaming weekly from John and Aldrick’s tailgate hosted by Sportswriter Dineaux Hansen, whose worked for FOX, ESPN and the New Orleans Pelicans and Data News Weekly’s Glenn Jones, who after Hurricane Katrina under his moniker “Kingfish” wrote about the Saints. They will provide analysis and commentary that will be informative, entertaining and from a local perspective; speaking of the show Jones says, “For us as a newspaper, this is a venture into a new medium. This show is targeted to those of us who have grown up in the City as diehard fans of the Saints. We will be giving pregame and postgame analysis through live streaming. Our show is unique because it is commentary from two African-Americans on the team from people who are born and raised in the City. This show is the culmination and celebration of our City, our fans and our team and how we coped with going from bags on our heads to Super Bowl Champions and to our identity moving forward.”
 
The Voice of the New Orleans Saints: A Family Affair
In a City that loves its football, it seems that we are poised for a year where we will be cheering on the Saints win, lose or tie as only we in New Orleans can. Since 1967 the City and its longstanding support of the team is bigger than football and more like family.  By day Mark Romig is the CEO of the New Orleans Tourism and Marketing Corporation (NOTMC), but during football season he is the voice of the Saints taking over for his father the late Jerry Romig, who was the voice of the Saints home games for 44 years. Speaking of his father and his legacy he says, “In my opinion, and one that is shared by many others, my Dad Jerry set the bar for stadium announcing. He reflected the love of a fan, as well as the professionalism of a journalist.”
 
Continuing he says speaking of the large shoes he was charged to fill, “When I was asked to step into the role when Dad was ready to retire from the role, I immediately sought advice from the only person who could give it – my Dad. He simply said “Mark, be yourself.” The funny thing is, he and I share the same sinus physiology, so I sound a little like him, and people have often remarked since about our similar “First Down, Saints!” and “Touchdown, Saints!” I know full well, though, that there will only ever be one Jerry Romig, and if I am ever even half the man he was, then I am blessed.” 
 
Bringing the 5-0-4 to London
Charles Tenner is a native New Orleanian and lifelong Saints fan. He is part of the Mardi Gras Indian tradition as a Spy boy in the Comanche Hunters. He is a recent newlywed and often spends time bonding with his family and friends watching the Saints games. Describing what’s usually happening before game time he says, “My daughters and my wife are getting the house together and we’re bonding together as a family today we ordered some wings and having a small family party and watch the game.” He also speaks about how he is preparing to travel with his wife to London, England for an upcoming Saints game. “I am excited for two reasons it is our honeymoon and it is the Saints game. I can’t ask for anything better than that.”
 
Tyra Barabino is an actress who has appeared in commercials, films and television shows. Most recently, in the TNT Program CLAWS. She is a member of the WHO DAT NATION and a will be also traveling to London for the Saints game. “I’m one of the biggest Who Dat fans ever. I love the Saints so much every year I pick 1 away game to travel to watch the Saints play this year I’m going all the way to London to see the Saints beat the Miami Dolphins.”
 
Bigger than Football: Why the Saints Matter to the People of New Orleans
All of the people interviewed for this story spoke of the black and gold and their most memorable times being the 2009 season and victory in the 2010 Super Bowl. They also spoke of the deeper meaning that is more than just about what happens on the field. These sentiments are summed up by Deforest Cornish, a native of the Crescent City and an educator and author now living in New York City, but Forever 5-0-4, “From tears in your eyes when the team won their first playoff game against the Rams. The hugs and crying in my brother’s back yard in California after my people and I spent horrendous days and nights in the Super and Astro Domes, when the Saints kicked a last second field goal to beat the Carolina Panthers to uplift a City, a region, the country, and the world for a week.
 
Continuing he says, “I then experienced more tears, and uncontrollable shakes that even shots of alcohol couldn’t control before kick off in the NFC Championship Game against, “Da Bears” and the unbelievable feeling of being one game away from the Super Bowl. Witnessing the “Meacham Miracle” while sitting in the Fed Ex Field Stadium Suites and praying to God that if he let us win with four minutes left; down by ten points, DAT I would name my son after the Saints… (Promised kept: Le Saint de Forest Cornish was born healthy). Holding hands with the family watching DAT ball geaux through the uprights; sending the Saints and an entire region and City to the Super Bowl, symbolizing what “resilience is all about. Running out of the house when Porter ran into the end zone on a miracle pic six knowing DAT the impossible was about to happen. We were gonna be Super Bowl Champions. I personally own autographed: Drew Brees, Reggie Bush, Mickey Loomis, Coach Payton, and HOF Willie Roaf footballs, and beaucoup Saints photos and memorabilia, but none of DAT matters. It’s the pride inside when you know DAT dem boys represent something, bigger, something almost spiritual, something unlike any other team or City, because we are New Orleans, and we are Saints!!!

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Photos by Kichea S. Burt The Black Men of Labor held its 24th Annual Living Culture Parade on Sunday, October 22,

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Lighting The Road To The Future

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