"Who Dat Nation" has begun its descent on our fair city in advance of the Super Bowl, where the New Orleans Saints will take on the Indianapolis Colts. Fittingly, while the Colts will stay in Fort Lauderdale, the Saints will hang out at the InterContinental Hotel in downtown Miami, and last night, the Miami Tower (until recently known as the Bank of America Tower) was lit up in Saints colors.
But who are these Who Dats, and what should you do if you encounter one? Riptide has your handy guide to their famous fans, possible culture shockers, and players with Miami connections.
The Culture Shock Factor: New Orleans might be one of the few cities in America that parties harder than Miami. Its bars never close, people with open containers can freely walk along Bourbon Street, and even though Miami Beach embraces topless sunbathing, it's nothing compared to the big boobs flapping in the wind during Mardi Gras. So Nawlins' visitors are unlikely to be shocked by our wild ways, though our dress codes, club lines, and ridiculously inflated cover charges might flummox some folks.
Player Most Likely to Be Found in the VIP Room: Even if Reggie Bush didn't have Kim Kardashian on his arm, he'd get in anywhere. And apparently, if the Saints win, he plans to propose to her with his Super Bowl ring.
Famous Fans: Brad Pitt, a part-time New Orleans resident, has been spotted at games this season. Novelist Anne Rice had a custom jersey made. Ellen DeGeneres, a New Orleans-area native, scored Super Bowl tickets for her mom courtesy of Drew Brees. John Goodman, Patricia Clarkson, James Carville, Harry Connick Jr., and Birdman are all noted Saints fans.
Famous Non-Fans: New Orleans native and Miami resident Lil Wayne ought to be the happiest man in the world, but Weezy turned his back on his hometown by rooting for Brett Favre and the Vikings in the NFC Championship. Mary Matalin, a Big Easy native and the Republican wife of Democrat James Carville, is apparently pulling for the Colts, probably because she and her hubby are contractually obligated to disagree on everything.
How Dolphins Fans Can Elicit a Rex Ryan-Style Flip-Off: Remember when former Saints coach Mike Ditka traded every single one of the Saints' '99 draft picks to ensure that he brought Heisman winner Ricky Williams to New Orleans? It worked out so well they traded him two years later to the Dolphins, where, except for a stint in the CFL (AKA the stoner league), he's become a franchise player.
Players With Miami Connections: Tight end Jeremy Shockey (Hurricanes '01), linebacker Jonathan Vilma (Hurricanes '03, went to Coral Gables HS), fullback Kyle Beckle (Dolphins practice squad '05-'07), and defensive end Bobby McCray (born in Miami, went to Homestead HS).