In New Orleans, we love the Saints. It's are a ride-or-die fandom, and WhoDats tend to be irrationally passionate about the team, even on tough years. To come into the Superdome as a visiting fan means confronting this phenomenon head-on, but you should absolutely do it anyway. If for no other reason than, well, your team needs you, because boy-oh-boy do we give our guys a fiercely loud home-field advantage.
Follow these five quick tips to have the best possible trip to our city and our beloved stadium:
1. Come On Foot
If you're staying in a hotel, odds are good that you're in the French Quarter, the Central Business District, or the Lower Garden Districts. All three of these neighborhoods offer an easy (less than one mile) and safe walk to the Superdome, and the walk is half the fun. It's a great way to see a little stretch of the city, and if you spend a few minutes with Google ahead of time, you can make a plan for some stops on the way for drinks and nosh. Which brings us to...
2. Eat and Drink on the Way
This isn't much of a surprise, but it always bears repeating: food and drinks in the Superdome are super-expensive. Save yourself a few bucks and get a more interesting sampling of the city's cuisine by stopping on the way. And remember, you can drink on the street in NOLA (and boy, do we ever).
As your waiter or bartender for your drink in a "go-cup" and they'll give it to you for the road. Yes, this is a real thing. Yup, it's pretty great. Yeah, you'd be nuts to not do it at least once.
3. Arrive Early
The Superdome is a big stadium and we pack a lot of people in there on game nights. It takes awhile to shuffle through the lines at the entrances and sometimes even longer to find your seats in the place (escalator after escalator after escalator...).
If you can, get there at least a half-hour before kick-off to ensure that you get to your seats with plenty of time to spare. If you're not sure how long it'll take you to walk over, err on the side of caution, because even if you're much too early, you can always...
4. Check Out Champions Square
This public plaza outside the Superdome is party central before (and during) Saints games. There's typically a live band, tons of food and adult beverage vendors, and just generally a scene that's worth taking in. It's crawling with WhoDats, but you'll assuredly find fans of your team, too, and you can band together in solidarity while living it up. After games, the party tends to move to various entertainment districts around town, and especially Bourbon Street.
5. Don't Be Scared
Look, if you spend any time on Twitter or message boards where Saints fans congregate, you'll hear us talking smack about other teams (especially the Atlanta Falcons!) and that might have you nervous, but in real life, we are honest-to-goodness the nicest fans you'll meet, especially at home. We love our team, but we take hospitality very seriously in this city and we want you to have a good time when you're here (even if you do love the Dirty Birds).
You have no reason to be concerned about wearing your team's colors as you tour New Orleans, and certainly no reason to worry about cheering them on in the Dome. If you win (not that you ever would), the Saints fans in your row will congratulate you and high-five you, and if you lose (Who Dat!), we'll wish you a safe trip home and offer you good breakfast restaurant recommendations. Welcome to New Orleans! Have a blast! (We really mean it!)