Fans keep faith with Saints’ losing streak

The New Orleans Saints have begun this year’s NFL football season with a 0-3 record, but New Orleanians are still looking for the team to deliver the same, if not more, excitement as last season. The “new” New Orleans Saints can give overwhelming joy to even the most disgruntled citizen.

Whether one will admit it or not, the Saints have always been the jewel of the city well before Hurricane Katrina. And now that the hurricane has taken most of what New Orleans natives know away, for some, the Saints are all that they have.

“I love the Saints. I have always loved the Saints; this isn’t just a bandwagon act. If you are from New Orleans and not a Saints fan, you cannot be a real New Orleanian,” said Arthur Arnolie, a junior Dillard University student and native New Orleanian. “Being a Saints fan is a way of life. They mean to so much to the city than just football.”

So imagine being a New Orleanian after Katrina, separated from home, family, friends and the Saints. Being in a new city and having to watch that city’s team play football would be disheartening to any fan, but especially to those without a team or a city to call their own anymore.

Gerald Matthews, Jr., native New Orleanian and long time Saints fan, said that after Katrina, he was depressed and thought it was the end of the world. But the Saints helped him get through such a depression.

“There were no fleur de lis on the other teams’ helmets. I am a Saints fan since birth–no other team matters to me. Even though they were losing, it was [as though] they were fighting for the city,” said Matthews.

With the return to the city, Saints players have been generous and seem to understand their role in New Orleans’ rebuilding process. Reggie Bush, for example, has given money to New Orleans public schools to reopen. Bush has also given money to Tad Gormley stadium to work on the stadium, and for up keep of the grounds and laying down a new field. According to the Saints’ public relations department, most of the players have charitable organizations, and the Saints organization has its own Katrina Relief Fund.

Shante Reddick, a Saintsation cheerleader, said that she sees firsthand how much the city loves the Saints and the team loves the city.

“As a native of New Orleans, I have seen the highs and lows of the Saints and now that they are a winning team it’s like a different vibe throughout the city, said Reddick.