Phenomenal Saints season had local registers ringing

Danny Davis
January 22, 2007
Panty-clad man arrested in Mulberry area
January 24, 2007
Danny Davis
January 22, 2007
Panty-clad man arrested in Mulberry area
January 24, 2007

For local businesses, sales of New Orleans Saints merchandise are usually nonexistent during the month of January. And who can expect different?

For 40 years, the Saints have languished in the depths of the NFL’s worst teams, rarely earning the chance to play meaningful games during the year’s first month.

But this season, January was not so cold toward Saints fans, and things changed for a few exciting weeks—both on and off the field.

With the Saints winning their first division championship since 2000, and only third division title ever, excitement for the team reached an all-time high. Add to that, that for the first time ever, the Saints were just a game away from the Super Bowl, and it is easy to understand the giddiness that area Saints fans greeted the success with.

While the Saints unprecedented success on the field may have ended earlier than some had hoped, via a 39-14 loss to the Chicago Bears, local businesses enjoyed unprecedented Saints’ related success off the field. “It’s real crazy,” said Shawn Danos, head manager of Sports Avenue in Southland Mall. “We’ve got people waiting outside the door when we open. It’s outrageous sales. We’ve never had sales like this in January before.”

Chris Guidry, store director at Academy Sports and Outdoors, echoed Danos’ sentiments. “The increases are definitely there,” said Guidry. “Two years ago you couldn’t give this stuff away, and now people are coming in droves to buy this stuff. It’s a pretty cool sight to see.”

Both stores said the most popular items have been jerseys, with Deuce McAllister and Drew Brees merchandise leading the way. “Mostly jerseys, and T-shirts,” Guidry said of his store’s most popular Saints apparel. “Actually, pretty much anything having to do with the Saints, and having the Saints logo on it, we are selling right now.”

Guidry added that his most popular jerseys are understandably of the team’s most popular players. “Your most popular ones are Deuce McAllister, being he had that good game against the Eagles, and also Brees and Bush. That’s the three big ones, right there.”

Danos said kid’s jerseys are popular at his store. “Right now, kid’s jerseys, which we don’t have any left,” said Danos. “Anything for women, Drew Brees and division champs stuff.

“It’s hard to get merchandise in, right now,” added Danos. “Everybody’s kind of sold out. Even the vendors are having trouble finding extra merchandise to send out.”

While excitement about the Saints’ playoff run is easy to see—or not see—in the empty racks at local sports retailers, the excitement of a fan base starving for success has expanded beyond sports retail stores.

Black and gold colored cakes and pastries have been for sale at local grocery stores such as Rouse’s, Cannata’s and Winn Dixie, for several weeks. Mardi Gras king cakes temporarily dropped the traditional green, purple and gold for the popular black and gold.

Similar to the “return home game” of Sept. 25 against the Falcons, Lafourche Parish President Charlotte Randolph declared last Friday as “Black and Gold Day,” urging local residents to show support for the Saints by wearing team apparel to their jobs.

Numerous businesses showed support by displaying “Go Saints,” or “Who Dat” on their signs and in their windows. One business even displayed a Reggie Bush “Fathead” over its business sign.

So while fans may have been anticipating the purchase of Super Bowl merchandise with the Fleur de Lis on it, that hope will have to wait until next year.

And for once, the statement “maybe next year,” seems more realistic than just wishful thinking.

“We’ll definitely see a carry over into the offseason,” said Guidry. “Then once the excitement wears off a little bit, then you’ll start to see the crowds calm down a little.

“But once preseason hits next year, and getting into training camp and everything, you’ll definitely start seeing the fans again. One thing with the Saints, is they’ve been losing for all these years. Now, everybody just enjoyed the winning.”

Matt LeBlanc can be reached at

Staff photo by MATT LeBLANC • Tri-Parish Times * Even Bourgeois Meat Market in Thibodaux got into the Saints act, featuring a photo of New Orleans running back Reggie Bush in action.