On Sunday night in Miami, Florida, the New Orleans Saints celebrated with themselves as a team and with a great number of fans that had made the trip. Tonight though…was their chance to celebrate with the people of the city that loves them so much.
Tuesday night, the New Orleans Saints Super Bowl Victory Parade made its way through the streets of the city allowing the fans to get their first real looks at the champions of the world. Starting at Poydras and LaSalle right near the Superdome, appropriately enough; Saints’ themed floats made their way through throngs of fans cheering and screaming for their heroes. It was truly a sight to see and one that will never be forgotten.
People started lining up for the parade early Tuesday morning and braved the freezing temperatures to make sure they got a good spot. Not that it mattered though because wherever anyone stood and could catch a glimpse of the floats was good enough for them. Fans were just ecstatic to be out there, dancing to live renditions of the Ying Yang Twins’ “Halftime Song aka Stand Up and Get Crunk,” and lavishing the team with all the love and adoration they could give.
Led by the USMC Marching Band and a horse-drawn wagon with newly-elected Mayor Mitch Landrieu, fans were nothing but excited from the moment it began. Fire engines blared their horns and made way for the huge floats carrying our favorite players including Drew Brees, Reggie Bush, Jonathan Vilma, Marques Colston, Darren Sharper, and so many more.
Floats from numerous Mardi Gras Krewes were loaned to the parade in order to celebrate in style and it was the first time they were ever together in one place. Both Jefferson and Orleans parish parades were more then happy to offer up a few of their floats. Among others, some of the parades the floats included were from:
Over a dozen marching bands from different schools were littered in among the floats with the Budweiser Clydesdales, a horse-pulled steam fire engine, and numerous fire trucks from around the city. It seemed like a huge traditional Mardi Gras parade, but with the fantastic addition of the world champion Saints.
Marching bands included:
~ St. Augustine High School
~ Brother Martin High School
~ McDonogh 35 High School
~ Washington Carver High School
~ Warren Easton High School
~ Tulane University
~ Walter L. Cohen High School
~ Jesuit High School
Tom Benson, his wife, family members, and other Saints’ office staff road together on the Grand Marshall float from Endymion. “The Saints Are Coming” by Green Day and U2 blared from the float as it passed by the fans and then transformed of course to “Stand Up and Get Crunk” which excited the crowd even more.
Quarterbacks Drew Brees, Chase Daniel, and Mark Brunell were joined on the float by the big offensive line that was out there protecting them all season. Brees showed off his arm strength too as he was literally zooming those beads out to the crowd. The offensive line was just jamming and having a great time dancing around as they threw beads out to anxious fans.
The wide receivers rode together as fans could spot Devery Henderson, Courtney Roby, Lance Moore, Marques Colston, Rod Harper, Robert Meachem,and Adrian Arrington rode with family and friends throwing beads.
Even the Saintsations got their own float which just shows me the courage of those girls because they simply had to be freezing.
Defensive players from the big line and linebackers rode together as Sedrick Ellis, Anthony Hargrove, Remi Ayodele, Charles Grant, Paul Spicer, Jonathan Vilma, Scott Fujita, and more were spotted throwing beads and talking to the crowd on microphones. Back-up Jeff Charleston stood high atop the alligator float and danced all he could.
Next up were all the running backs, fullbacks, and right ends with Reggie Bush, Heath Evans, Pierre Thomas, Lynell Hamilton, David Thomas, Darnell Dinkins, Billy Miller, Deuce McAllister, Jeremy Shockey, and more. People were throwing and handing things up to the players just hoping for autographs. It was nuts.
All of the secondary including Super Bowl hero Tracy Porter rode together and they were dancing up a storm. Usama Young, Chris Reis, Roman Harper, Darren Sharper, and the rest were having what looked like the best time in the world on their float.
The kickers stood together atop a high heel shaped float. Garrett Hartley and Thomas Morstead took center stage here and were celebrated in style as they threw beads and signed autographs for anyone that could reach them.
On our final float we had Coach Sean Payton holding the Lombardi Trophy high atop and showing it to all the fans. That is what it was all about and it now will sit here in New Orleans as the Saints look to defend their their championship next year. He looked so happy that it almost appeared as if he was giddy up there and waving to the crowd. Surrounding him on the float were his coaches and staff throwing beads out to everyone.
Speaking of Mardi Gras parades, there were numerous other similarities in the Saints’ parade which ran right in the middle of the season. Saints’ owner Tom Benson, the players, and the coaching staff were royally toasted at the Gallier Hall stands by Governor Bobby Jindal, Mayor Ray Nagin, and all the parish presidents. It was all royal until the Saints were serenaded by the Ying Yang Twins performing their hit song which became the team’s anthem this season.
This really was a sight to behold for any and everyone that could make it out there or was simply checking it out at home on television. Fans littered the streets as Saints’-themed beads flew through the air making this “Lombardi Gras” parade one for the ages. We all thought that the victory on Sunday night was a sight we’d never forget and it’s true that all Saints’ fans never will. But the images tonight from the faces of fans, government officials, and the players will be enshrined in our memories forever.
Seeing the Vince Lombardi Trophy roll through the streets of New Orleans is a sight that many sore eyes have been waiting to see for 43 years. Saints players. Beads. Floats. Music. Dancing. F-18 jets flying over. The Lombardi Trophy. WHO DAT…WHO DAT…Who Dat Say Dey Gon’ Beat Dem’ WORLD CHAMPION Saints!
For those that couldn’t make it out to celebrate with the WHO DAT Nation, the parade was carried on ESPN, the NFL Network, and numerous local stations including WWL and WDSU. For those that watched at home or near Gallier Hall, they got to see the USMC Band play an awesome rendition of “Stand Up and Get Crunk” right after trumpeter Irvin Mayfield played the National Anthem as the crowd sang along.
Bless You Boys…Thank You Boys!