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Arts & Culture

Dat Love of the Saints Runs Deep in New Orleans

The Who Dat nation is so strong in New Orleans that even businesses and campaigns have adopted the New Orleans Saints slogan, like Don’t Trash Dat and Dat Dog.

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.”

grow dat youth farm new orleans
A sign for Grow Dat’s new space in City Park. (Photo by Shira Pinsker)

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 new orleans
A billboard for the New Orleans anti-littering campaign. (Photo by Shira Pinsker)

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.

Outside of Dat Dog’s new space, on 5030 Freret St.

Dat Dog

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.”

Know of any other businesses that reference the Who Dat mantra? Tell us on Facebook or Twitter!

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