As a former New Orleanian and new transplant to Denver, I’ve been thinking about New Orleans a lot over the past week or two. Not for the usual reasons — crawfish cravings, say, or missing my friends, although some crawfish would be delicious and I would love to be sitting at the Fly with a beer surrounded by friends right now… but I digress.
First, a friend from Tulane came to visit and we reminisced about home, school, and talked about my and Aaron’s idea to start a crawfish food truck in Denver, which will never happen, but how amazing would that be? We went to a food festival, but left after 15 minutes, because it was just nothing compared to what we’d find in Louisiana.
Second, it flooded in Colorado. Nothing like “biblical floods” to remind me of New Orleans. I remember when Aaron and I lived on Audubon Street, we’d move our cars up on the lawn and wave as our neighbors canoed down the street; just another Tuesday night in Louisiana. And here we are, in 300-days-of-sunshine-per-year Colorado, and the University of Colorado Boulder evacuated and canceled classes, roads were shut down all along the Front Range, and our dog was again traumatized by having to go out in the rain. He had anticipated a life free from torrential downpours and thunder so loud it shakes the windows. He was wrong.
And finally, it is football season. I wait and wait for football season each year — my Saints jersey slowly moves from the bottom of the drawer, until the day of the first game, when it sits on top, ready to be worn with pride. I did a bit of research into sports bars in Denver. I tried to see if there was a Saints bar and I found an old Internet post from 2010 mentioning Stoney’s Bar and Grill. So I went to Stoney’s website and, lo and behold, a Saints logo in the middle of the page! Could it be? A Saints bar? Half a mile from my new apartment? Aaron and I decided that that’s where we would watch Sunday’s opener against the Falcons.
Fast-forward to game day. Like any normal (and totally sane) Who Dat, I donned my jersey, gold Elvis-esque sunglasses, giant gold earrings, and strand of black and gold football helmet beads. threw two Mardi Gras koozies in my purse (just in case) and we were ready to go. Before walking out the door, I wondered briefly if I might look ridiculous in this outfit, not being in New Orleans anymore … but quickly dismissed the nonsense. I am so grateful that I dismissed the nonsense.
When we walked into Stoney’s, a huge grin spread across my face. There were Saints fans everywhere. There were people of all ages, from a 1-year-old in a Saints onesie to older men with beer bellies stretched over their black and gold t-shirts. I was disappointed when I found out that Who Dats had reserved all of the tables in the front room, but then again, I understood and I couldn’t blame them. Aaron and I settled into a table where we could see the Saints and the Colts games, ordered our pitchers of beer and got ready.
The only way I can explain how I felt watching that game is to say that it didn’t really feel different from watching a game in New Orleans. The bar went wild when the game started, when the defense stopped Atlanta, when we got a first down. And oh, when we scored … the place erupted, people chanted Who Dat?!, the bar played Stand Up and Get Crunk. It was magic.
I have no idea why and how a Saints bar popped up in downtown Denver. I’m going to look into it — talk to the owner, talk to fans, probably write another article. But for now, I will leave you with this image:
When the game was over and the Saints had won, music blasted, people cheered, and a second line broke out around that front room of the bar. My insane, yet lovable fellow fans had brought second-line umbrellas, bedazzled in black and gold, to the bar so that we could second line. People waved their paper cocktail napkins, danced and cheered. I laughed, took pictures, almost cried.
And then I gave thanks for Who Dats everywhere.