The Saints are coming. Brace yourself accordingly.
Think of it as the Battle of New Orleans in reverse. Two-hundred-and-two-years later, we’re invading you.
Courtesy of British Airways, Who Dats — the affectionate nickname for Saints fans — can board a Boeing 787 Dreamliner at 9 p.m. New Orleans time and step off the same plane at Heathrow Airport nine hours later. Because of multiple time zone crossings, that’s actually noon the next day.
And certainly 5 o’clock somewhere.
Thanks to the Saints’ beatdown of the Carolina Panthers last weekend, we’ll arrive in an especially upbeat mood. There’d be no swagger in our step if we crossed the pond with a dismal 0-3 record.
Instead, we are 1-2. Or, in the view of the eternal optimists among us, only one game removed from a .500 winning percentage.
We’ll be looking for that break-even victory in your town. Should we beat the Miami Dolphins at Wembley Stadium on Sunday, the party is on.
Actually, the party will be on long before kickoff. It'll start on the plane.
As you may have heard, New Orleanians like to have a good time. In fact, selling fun is pretty much our only industry.
We live out loud in a manner that may shock your stiff-upper-lip sensibilities. We also like impromptu street parades. Don’t be afraid. You’re more than welcome to join in, especially if you've got a trumpet, tuba or bass drum handy.
We might be a bit shocked at the price of a pint in downtown London and confused about exactly how much beer is in a pint. But we’ll figure it out. Quickly.
And we’re gonna be thirsty after that long flight.
Speaking of which, Willie Snead, one of the Saints’ star wide receivers, is set to make his regular-season debut in London following a three-game suspension for a drunk-driving arrest.
We’d like him to be available for the rest of the season. So if you see him leaving a pub, please put him in a cab. He can afford it.
Living in New Orleans, like being a Saints fan, requires the ability to coexist with the constant threat of disaster. Crime, tropical storms, coastal erosion, the Sewerage & Water Board — all pose existential threats to our existence.
And yet, we can set all that aside and rally to the Saints on Sundays, the recent kneel/stand/sit national anthem brouhaha notwithstanding. Come game time, as long as the offensive line stands as firm as Andrew Jackson’s army two centuries ago and protects Drew Brees, we're good.
In and around Wembley on Sunday, you’ll hear chants of “Who dat! Who dat! Who dat say dey gonna beat dem Saints?”
We realize this pronunciation and sentence structure do not conform to the King’s English. Much of the dialogue you'll hear from New Orleanians this weekend won't. And unfortunately, Google Translate does not yet have a "Yat app," so just go ahead and ask us to repeat ourselves.
Just FYI, the "Who Dat" chant translates roughly as, “Who is that? Who is that? Who is that who says they are going to beat those Saints?”
Which, I think we can all agree, would make for a pretty lame cheer. Even for the British.
Costuming is a big deal around here. We transform ourselves for Mardi Gras, Halloween and Saints games. Oversized whistle-shaped helmets, black-and-gold Iron Man armor and Saints-themed pope hats don’t necessarily fit in a Boeing’s overhead bins. But we’ll figure something out. We're big on improvising.
A note on your cuisine: We prefer food with flavor. Please advise your restaurants to stock up on Crystal and/or Tabasco hot sauce. These magic potions can remedy most culinary deficiencies.
Harry Connick Jr., one of the more prominent denizens of the Who Dat Nation, recently tweeted that he’ll be in that number when the Saints go marching into Wembley. If you’re lucky, he’ll also find his way to a piano in a hotel lobby or jazz club — you do have jazz clubs, right? Ask him to play something by James Booker. You won't be disappointed.
In general, expect the Who Dats in your midst to stand out much more than Dolphins fans. We share a kinship with folks from Miami. We've both endured hurricanes and running back Ricky Williams, who was a little too unconventional, even for us.
But that in no way diminishes our desire to crush their team.
Thus, good citizens of Great Britain, we're confident that our invasion of your homeland will fare far better than your long-ago invasion of ours. We'll see you in the streets. And go Saints!
The Who Dat Nation