Growing up a Saints fan: The Everyday Wonder of perseverance

Editor’s Note: Right now, there is a lot of looking forward into the unknown, and we at ViaNolaVie also want to offer you some views from the rear-view mirror that will make you smile. The following series “Who Dat? Saints and Sports in NOLA” is a week-long series curated by Emily O’Connell as a part of the Digital Research Internship Program in partnership with ViaNolaVie. The DRI Program is a Newcomb Insitute technology initiative for undergraduate students combining technology skillsets, feminist leadership, and the digital humanities. 

From the dismal seasons of the New Orleans “‘Aints” to rallying a hurricane-stricken community to a 2009 Super Bowl, the Saints have inspired a shared passion amongst New Orleanians that is unique to the city. Now that we’re in the doldrums of the NFL offseason, let’s reflect on how the Saints have influenced New Orleans culture, and as NOLA’s enthusiasm for sports continues to grow, we can look forward to a new era as the Pelicans look to make their own unique mark on the city. No matter what team you cheer for, New Orleans’ unique engagement with sports perfectly captures the fun-loving passionate spirit of the Big Easy. Listen to New Orleans locals and transplants on the podcast Everyday Wonder talk about the deeper significance, both personally and culturally, of sports, and the unique impact the Saints have on New Orleans. From losing seasons to Super Bowl contention, Saints fans always persevere.

This article was originally published on October 09, 2019.

In sports, there’s a lot of talk about winning and losing. But here at Everyday Wonder, we think there’s a more important conversation. One about perseverance. Specifically, what is it that makes some of us stick with a team, sometimes year after year, even when they don’t win?

They start ’em early in New Orleans. (Photo: Renee Peck)

Football season is a great time to have that conversation. And New Orleans – land of the ‘Aints and a past that once saw 21 consecutive losing seasons – is a great place to have it. After all, Saints fans are among the most persistent and upbeat in the NFL. Perhaps that’s because we believe. In our team, our city, and one another.

There’s everyday wonder in the mythic journey that football provides. And in this era, when most of us have lost confidence in the usual heroes – politicians, religious leaders, celebrities — sports may well be the last arena where we can find icons and ideals worth rooting for. That’s a particularly appealing concept in turbulent times.

Which is why we’re spending this episode talking about perseverance, and the bigger issue:  never giving up on that one team or ideal you love. Join the conversation and see if you agree.


Brett Will Taylor, who, god forbid, is a recovering Cowboys and Patriots fan

Renee Peck, who remembers the 2006 Steve Gleason blocked punt as the turning point in her Katrina recovery


Armand Samuels, who grew up as a Saints fan and learned not to take things too seriously, developed a keen sense of humor, and still is wary of happy endings

New Orleans, who is as happily imperfect as the teams she hosts


Thomas Walsh


Everyday Wonder is a weekly podcast that focuses on conversations about the things that really matter. Read more about it here. Send feedback and comments to Brett Will Taylor at or Renee Peck at


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