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 via a team of just two people 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 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. Let me be perfectly clear in stating that yesterday’s event was in no way an official Team Gleason event, nor were they in any way connected. They are simply the non-profit that I personally have chosen to be the beneficiaries of the Saints Nation’s generosity.
Making it happen.
NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE ODDS: When I first began working on this idea the day after the NFC Championship, the goal was to partner with a Mardi Gras Krewe for which logistics and the majority of expenses would already be in place, making it economically and logistically feasible, and I began outreach to that effect. (See the original post here.) But the fans who responded to the Facebook posts were adamant: they wanted their parade on Super Bowl Sunday. 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, the page had amassed a following of over 24,000, with more than 3,000 of those indicating they would participate. That was a strong indicator that you, the fans, wanted this event (and truth be told, those numbers quite likely had a large influence on the permit consideration.) However, during a trip to City Hall on Monday, Jan. 28 for the permit application follow up, I was advised that approval was still highly unlikely. But the following morning, I received the call: permit granted. 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: Because I had made the personal decision not to request a single dollar until absolutely certain that the event would take place, there was little time for fundraising. With just five days remaining until Blackout Sunday, there was not a lot of time to garner financial support/sponsorships to cover the significant event costs while also personally handling every aspect of the event production, marketing, graphic design, promotion and social media/web updates. It was a blessing when, even before permit approval, TBC Brass Band’s saxophone player, Paul Chéenne, reached out to me as soon as he saw the social media post about my intent. (More details on that below.) Though we had never met before, we shared the same desire to help bring healing to the broken hearted Saints Nation. So on a wing and a prayer, we made the decision to make it happen, sleep be damned. The fans wanted it. The fans needed it. And we had faith.
EVENT SPONSORS: 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.
Our 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 GRATITUDE: I hope you will join me in thanking these people for their invaluable assistance:
Thanks to New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell and the the City of New Orleans for the permit approval so we could 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 even though we knew it was extremely unlikely given the short time frame. It was truly a pleasure working with you to pare down the application so we could receive the approval.
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, who worked exhaustively to pull together a fabulous music line up and our Mardi Gras Indians. 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 music and a quintessential New Orleans celebration unlike any you will experience anywhere else in the world. Paul, though I had not met you in person prior to the Feb. 3 event, you are my hero. You delivered what the people wanted, and more!
Thanks to saxophonist Greg Worthington who joined us on the trolley to bring more music to the Saints Nation. As always, you were amazing and you livened up the ride along the way.
Thanks to the many people whose generosity helped toward the expenses of putting on an event of this magnitude. Your donations were used to cover the massive police detail, musicians’ fees, trolley driver and fuel, promotional efforts and printing, and as noted above, we currently have a small surplus that will be donated to our selected 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, I wish to thank my friends 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 to my many friends who donated to help make the event possible. I’m so blessed for your friendships!
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!
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.
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.”
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.”
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.”
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 Livevideo.
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.
Celebrate the Unbreakable Spirit of the Saints 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.