Although most American cities love their NFL franchise, New Orleans is uniquely tied to its pro-football team. From their Fleur-de-lis logo to the Catholic origin of their name, much of the Saints’ identity references symbols and culture associated with the city. But it’s the Who Dat cheer that has come to define the team’s supporters–so much so that fans are referred to as the “Who Dat Nation.”
Look beyond the streets and signs for sale in the windows of the French Quarter and you’ll see a number of businesses and organizations that riff on the Who Dat chant in their names and slogans. These nods to the Saints and to Southern regional slang connect us to these businesses, organizations and initiatives and showcase the deep connection between New Orleans and its football team.
The phrase itself dates back to the vaudeville shows and minstrel acts of the late 19th and early 20th century, but a Who Dat cheer became popular at high schools and colleges around Southeast Louisiana in the 1960s and ‘70s. It became associated with the Saints in the early 1980s.
Don’t Trash Dat
The city’s anti-littering campaign launched last November, in advance of high-profile events in the city including the NCAA Final Four Men’s Basketball Championship, the 2012 Allstate Sugar Bowl and BCS National Championship, and the 2013 Super Bowl in New Orleans. Look for the “Don’t Trash Dat” campaign signs on billboards and bus stops around the city.
Grow Dat Youth Farm
Grow Dat Youth Farm is a farm tended by a group of young New Orleanians who produce food for local residents, situated in City Park. The farm recruits students from high schools and youth organizations to work the farm, simultaneously developing leadership and life skills and servicing their communities.
Opened in 2011 on the revitalized Freret Street, Dat Dog became so popular that it moved from it’s original location in a shed that dated back to the 1900s to a larger location across the street designed to accommodate the growing crowds. Listen to an interview with co-owner Skip Murray in this episode of GoNOLA Radio!
We Got Dat
Dorignac’s Grocery Store, the expansive grocery store in Metairie, has everything. I know this personally from trying to hunt down a particular bottle of wine in New Orleans. I called several wine shops and visited every grocery store in my area. And who had it? Dorignac’s.
Or as they would say, “Hard to find grocery items? Yeah, we got Dat.”