When you spend 3.5 years in Thibodaux, Louisiana as your first US experience you get indoctrinated into a couple of things
- King Cakes and Pralines
- Poboys, Gumbo and Jambalaya
- LSU football on Saturdays & Saints football on Sundays.
After leaving Louisiana and moving to Virginia, I definitely miss a lot of my ‘Cajun’ upbringing and people. One thing I have limited access to is Saints and LSU games, although there are very few Who Dats and Tiger fans in southwest Virginia.
In 2009, I decided that I was going to talk to every Saints fans I ever met, get their contact info, and start a Saints fans club in Southwest Virginia. I did not know that would be the year we win the Superbowl. Co-incidence? Maybe!
Samantha, I and David at Jack Browns for Mardi Gras
I met David on Nov 15th 2009 at Buffalo Wild Wings. I saw his Saints tee and he saw my jersey. My inner Cajun fired up. We struck up a conversation, and we decided to watch future games together. Next thing you know he becomes one of the most loyal fans of the group showing up at most games when he is not traveling, and doing what most Saints fans do: pulling their hair when frustrated and dancing and hi five-ing when things go well.
David is well traveled in the United States. He loves to take pictures of nature, animals in the wild, rock formations, National Parks and anything that would go in an ‘America the Beautiful’ brochure. Speaking of rocks – he collects beautiful rocks, and carves them up in jewelry, ornaments, or other mementos – as a hobby. I’ve seen his collection. The Man has and eye for beauty and the hands for craftsmanship.
David invited me over for homemade gumbo with fresh meats from local farms and also some good ol’ boudin. Delicious! We talked about my soon-to-be travels, his past and future expeditions and he shared a gazillion pictures of how beautiful and diverse American lands really are and how to appreciate them. His travel experience has resulted in more added locations for me to visit.
Crystal, Melanie and I at Fork in the City, Roanoke, Virginia.
I met Melanie on Nov 8th 2009 … according to my iPhone. I was watching the Saints play Carolina at another Buffalo Wilds Wings near Valley View Mall. At some point I walked outside and noticed someone wearing a Saints hat sitting down with a guy watching the game outside and chatting. The inner Cajun darted towards her. I introduced myself and what I was trying to do – create a Saints fan club. Next thing I know we trade our cell numbers. Funny story is later after a couple of games together she tells me that she was on a date with that guy; it was both odd and funny giving a number to a random dude while on another date. Of course context matters – but it is still funny.
I met Crystal on Nov 6th 2011 … yes, also according to my iPhone. I was with some friends at Applebees. She, her mom and dad were about to walk into Applebees. Her dad was wearing an LSU tee. There is an LSU fan in Roanoke, Virginia?? I have to meet this guy. I walked up, asked them if they were LSU fans, told them I was a loyal fan too. Assuming they were from Louisiana, I ask them which part? They were hesitant to reveal the city at first since not many people in Virginia would be well versed with city names except for the traditional ones like Baton Rouge or New Orleans. The next words out of their mouth was “We are from Thibodaux”. “No way, I went to school at Nicholls State”, to which Crystal responded “Me too.” Turns out Crystal was soon to be moving into Roanoke, Virginia and I was the first person (outside of her employers) that she met. Small world – especially if you embrace your inner Cajun.
Crystal, Melanie and I met up at Fork in the City for pizza and drinks… and lots of funny stories, ghost stories, and horror stories. It was so good to catch up. Melanie, I cannot wait to read the horror story you wrote. MAKE IT HAPPEN! Thank you for the pizza and friendship. Crystal, I hope to run into you in Bayou Country – keep me posted on the date. Maybe we can go downtown and hit up all the tradition college bars for ol’ time sake – if they are still open. Thank you for the drinks and friendship ~ your Bigger Bayou Brother.
By 2011 the fan club grew from a wolf pack of one to about thirty. Our best turnout was when we had #30 Lynell Hamilton watch the last game of the season with the entire group. Lynell was one of the running backs on the Saints Superbowl team. Who Dat Roanoke was watching the Saints play with a Superbowl Winning Saint.
This was my most fondest memory of the collective Saints fan club. Good things happen with great people when you embrace your inner Cajun!