Last January's "no call" did not sit well with Saints fans (obviously). In response, the city held a Super Bowl boycott party that caught the attention of the nation, as well as Steve Monistere of Paramount Entertainment.
"Looking at the Super Bowl Sunday crowd and the massive crowds Downtown, it was the first time I was able to put my eyes on what we call the Who Dat Nation," he explained. "Those pictures went viral across the country and everyone was seeing what I was seeing."
Equipped with almost 40 years of production experience and the ability to use Who Dat (Monistere trademarked the phrase with his brother back in the 80s), the Official Who Dat Nation Rally & Music Festival was born. The inaugural event takes place on the grounds of the Jefferson Performing Arts Center, Friday September 6 through Sunday September 8.
"It's a way to let their voices be heard and to be seen. There hasn't been that one gathering," Monistere told Adore.
A tribute concert is slated to kick off the weekend's events. Art Neville, Fats Domino, Dave Bartholomew, Dr. John, and Allen Toussaint will be remembered by local musicians including Irma Thomas and Deacon John. The concert is free, but donations are encouraged as the entirety of the donations will be given to the New Orleans Musician Clinic. "Our musicians are the bedrock of what the world thinks of when they think about New Orleans," Monistere said in a statement. "We have to support them."
The rally continues on Saturday and Sunday. Music by 18 bands, including Blood Sweat & Tears and The Guess Who, will play on 3 stages and there will a variety of activities from arts and crafts to a Bounce Park for children. Another popular feature will be the "Dunk Goodell" booth featuring masked imitators a.k.a. the perfect way to get your revenge. Proceeds from the tank will be donated to charity.
Animal lovers should make note of the Krewe of Paws Parade & Costume Contest which will take place on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. Adoptable animals will also be included in the parade and available to meet during the afternoons by the Children's Village. Proceeding the parade is a costume contest, where winners will win gift certificates from Aucoin Hart Jewelers. The dog-friendly event will benefit the Jefferson SPCA, Animal Rescue New Orleans, Spaymart, and Take Paws Rescue. The Greater New Orleans Therapeutic Riding Center is also bringing several horses to interact with the children.
Over a dozen area restaurants are participating in the festival and Anheuser-Busch products will be available for purchase along with champagne, craft cocktails, iced coffees, and more. Monistere notes that the festival also gives Saints fans the opportunity to celebrate without traveling into the city. "It's going to have a major economic impact on the Parish," he said. "There are over 25,000 people coming."
Several ticket variations are available for purchase in advance or at the festival. A portion of each ticket will be donated to Jefferson Parish's Parks and Recreation program. There is also free parking, which is always a bonus. Volunteers are still needed for the festival. They will receive a festival T-shirt and 4 adult tickets for each shift worked.