Thank you, Saints Nation!
Thank you, Who Dat Nation! We did it!
Yesterday was an insanely cool celebration of resilience and resolve, with an estimated crowd of over 30,000 people coming out to be part of the Blackout & Gold Second Line Parade – Official to show their love for our New Orleans Saints. That this event could materialize in just four production days from permit to execution is a testimony as to the power of social media and the dedication of the best fan base in the world. The Facebook event page has garnered over 28,000 followers and .5 million views in just a little over a week. It’s quite surreal!
FUNDING AND FUNDRAISING
Though fundraising was never the goal of this event, it’s always nice to be able to give back to organizations doing meaningful work in the community. We selected two organizations to be the beneficiaries of funding in excess of the event expenses.
The Save Our Brass Culture Foundation is a non-profit organization formed by New Orleans brass band members. Its mission is to protect and serve the brass culture while defending its rights, creating unity and advocating for its members. Included in that mission is assisting musicians with healthcare and putting horns in the hands of children who will carry on the tradition for generations to come.
Our second beneficiary is one that is near and dear to Saints fans’ hearts, Team Gleason. It seemed most appropriate to celebrate yesterday’s defining day in Saints history by honoring the work of the person who brought us the moment that has come to symbolize New Orleans’ rebirth—the legendary blocked punt. Please note that this Second Line Parade was in no way an official Team Gleason event, nor were they in any way connected. They are simply the non-profit chosen to be the beneficiaries of the Saints Nation’s generosity.
MAKING IT HAPPEN
This event was created in response to an overwhelming number of social media requests for a parade honoring the New Orleans when fans were outraged by the infamous “No Call” play during the NFC Championship game. The idea originally proposed was for one of the local Mardi Gras Krewes to partner with the Saints organization to host a black and gold parade during carnival season, because the necessary parade provisions and the majority of expenses would already be covered, making it economically and logistically feasible. But the fans who responded to the Facebook posts were adamant: they wanted their parade on Super Bowl Sunday. (See the original post and responses here.)
The only way this was logistically feasible was to offer instead a pedestrian option, and on Thursday, Jan. 24, the Blackout & Gold Second Line Parade concept was born. The goal was to host the event at 2 pm, so as to not interfere with other events taking place within the city at kickoff time, so people could attend as many events as possible–the more, the better! (Note: after the permit application for this event was submitted, the start time for another concert taking place that day was moved up to noon. We were unable to change our event time at that point.)
THE POWER OF SOCIAL MEDIA
By Friday, Jan. 25, just five days after the “no call,” the event post proposing a Second Line parade had amassed a following of over 23,000, with more than 3,000 of those indicating they would participate. With such a strong indicator that fans wanted this event, a formal permit application was submitted via the city’s One Stop website. On Monday, Jan. 28, it was disheartening to learn that the permit request would not be granted. But the following morning came the surprising news: permit approved! Though the application had listed an anticipated 5,000 participants, there was little doubt that the crowds would likely exceed five times that amount or more.
KICKING INTO HIGH GEAR
It had been a blessing when, even before permit approval, TBC Brass Band’s saxophone player, Paul Chéenne, reached out as soon as he saw the social media post about the intended event. Our shared goal was to help bring healing to the broken-hearted Saints Nation. So on a wing and a prayer, we pledged to make it happen. The fans wanted it. The fans needed it. And we had faith.
Because the decision had been made not to request a single dollar of contributions until absolutely certain that the event would take place, there was little time for fundraising to help cover all of the event costs. A Kickstarter campaign was launched, followed by event marketing efforts and media notifications.
We owe a huge thank you to these generous benefactors and the anonymous donors who put their trust in us. Without their support, this event would not have happened! Please help us thank them for their generosity and show them some love with your patronage.
The Blackout & Gold Second Line’s Signature Sponsor was the Queen of King Cakes, Nonna Randazzo’s Bakery. This full service bakery has locations in Mandeville, Covington, Chalmette and Pontchatoula, with pastries, cookies, cakes and legendary king cakes, including an amazing black and gold king cake. They also offer worldwide shipping and have the coolest web address ever: www.IGotTheBaby.com
California Drawstrings specializes in natural fiber clothing lines (including Saints attire!) 812 Royal St. https://www.californiadrawstrings.com/
City of Slidell Councilman Bill & Laura Borchert
Charley G’s G-Spot Fantasy Football League
Much appreciation to New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell and the the City of New Orleans for the permit approval, making it possible to bring this uplifting event to the people who so desperately needed it. Special thanks to the Safety and Permits/Special Events division for the invaluable assistance toward securing the permit despite the short time frame.
A huge shout out to New Orleans Police Department, which for this event was headed by Officer William J. Johnson III of the Special Events Section. Wrangling a crowd of people that stretched on Decatur St. as far as the eye could see in either direction, and a sea of people continuing to Bourbon St. as we rounded the corner on Canal, was no small feat. But NOPD did so beautifully and the event was enjoyed by all.
Thanks to 2018 Big Easy Award’s Best Brass Band, TBC Brass Band, and 2019 Grammy nominee, Cha Wa, for leading our procession from Jackson Square to Canal St. to Bourbon St. That you managed to skillfully navigate through the dense crowds along the nearly mile-long route is a feat in and of itself.
As previously noted, a huge thank you to saxophonist extraordinaire Paul Chéenne for pulling together a fabulous music line up. Though he ensured that the other musicians were compensated for their performances, he, like I, did this not for compensation or recognition, but simply because we saw a way to bring some much needed catharsis to the thousands upon thousands of broken-hearted Saints fans, with a quintessential New Orleans celebration unlike any you will experience anywhere else in the world.
Thanks to saxophonist Greg Worthington who boarded the trolley and shared his talents along the route, bringing more music to the Saints Nation.
Thanks to the many people whose generosity helped toward the expenses of putting on an event of this magnitude. Your contributions were used to cover the massive police detail, musicians’ fees, trolley driver and fuel, promotional efforts and printing, plus donations to the non-profits.
To the many people who came in from out of town to join in on Sunday’s events, thank you for being part of our catharsis! It was such a delight learning from where so many of you had traveled, and a special thanks to the anonymous donor from San Francisco who contributed $500 toward this event because “we were robbed.” It was such a pleasure to meet you in person!
Thanks to the media for your generous coverage of this and all of the events that took place in New Orleans yesterday. You helped us show the world that champions are defined not by the score on the field, but by winning attitudes, undefeatable spirits and sheer resilience. Mission accomplished.
On a personal note, thanks to Eneida Allison and Rhonda Perez for offering assistance with “whatever is needed” to pull this off, and to the family members who had faith in this mission and fronted money toward covering the many event expenses. Much appreciation to Slidell Councilman Bill and Laura Borchert for donating use of the green trolley, the ONLY authorized vehicle in the parade (the event paid only for the driver and fuel,) and to the many friends who donated to help make the event possible.
Thanks to you, the people of the Saints Nation, who joined us for the Blackout & Gold Saints Second Line Parade, and much appreciation for ensuring that the guidelines that we were given for permit approval were followed. The NOPD has expressed their gratitude and admiration for everyone who was part of the event, which ran remarkably smoothly!
And lastly, bravo to all of the organizers of the many additional events that took place throughout the city yesterday. Collectively, we brought the Who Dat Nation together for a celebration of who we are to our very core. And it was spectacular.
The world celebrated with us! See the stories here.
New Orleans Saints players react to the fans’ love.
Via The Advocate: “What they’re saying about New Orleans…a tantrum in glorious fashion.”
Game? What game? AP News
Nice coverage via The Washington Post.
Meanwhile, from across the big pond comes this story from The Guardian UK.
USA Today calls our parade, “a joyful sort of a protest, though, because it’s New Orleans.”
The New York Times credits New Orleans rebellions toward the game’s ratings drops.
San Diego Union Tribune reports of ratings dips. No chips.
Southern Living celebrates the jilt “like only New Orleans could.”
Though the crowd initially was dubbed “angry fans,” by the Los Angeles Times, that headline has since been changed and crowds are now described as a “festive protest.”
TMZ Sports got in on the game.
Sports Illustrated sharing Blackout Sunday events.
Saints on Nola.com: “Streets of French Quarter explode with Saints Second Line parade.”
ESPN shares our game plan.
Nola.com video: TBC Brass Band, “We got robbed!” Song ©2019 TBC Brass Band
Nola.com photos and videos.
Nola.com news aerial Second Line footage with TBC Brass Band and Cha Wa.
Photos of Sunday’s events via The Advocate.
Fox 8 Live video.
Houma Today editorial: a strong message.
Amused by this nod from Fox 8 Atlanta.
You call this “angry,” SBNation?
Even Yahoo Sports enjoyed our “monster parade… with a massive, impressive and raucous turnout.”
It’s not just sports. It’s Pop Culture Trending.
Then there’s this, from Inquisitr.
NBCNews.com shared our pain.
To see the video from Fox 8’s Live Feed, click here. (49 minutes with “live” comments from around the U.S.)
Pre-event coverage with WWL Radio’s Dave Cohen.
It’s official! Second Line Parade announcement via Nola.com’s Doug MacCash.
Check out this amazing video courtesy of Damion Jackson. Music by Big Easy Award Winners – Brass Band of the Year, T.B.C. Brass Band joined by this year’s Grammy Award nominated ChaWa. Click speaker icon in lower right corner if sound does not play automatically.
Celebrate the Unbreakable Spirit of Black and Gold fans with the event t-shirts
Official t-shirts are available exclusively on Amazon.com $19.95
QUALITY NOTICE: Please note that this design has been copied without authorization and is being sold via numerous online outlets with low resolution artwork downloaded from the web. The ONLY authorized source for these shirts printed with high resolution imaging is the Sass & Sizzle brand on Amazon.com. Thank you for respecting the designer copyright by not patronizing those guilty of unauthorized use.
To see the entire line, click here.