NEW ORLEANS — Jilted Saints fans may have dubbed the big game Super Bowl “LIIIE,” but in a city that usually can find any reason to drink and dance in the midst of a catastrophe, the Super Bowl Boycott Parade that rolled through the French Quarter on Sunday afternoon was just another excuse to give Mardi Gras a generous head start.
Thousands of Saints fans — some dressed as visually impaired NFL referees, some sticking pins in commissioner Roger Goodell voodoo dolls — milled around Jackson Square and past St. Louis Cathedral for the 1.5-mile parade route.
Rather than burn cars or smash windows over the non-call heard around the world in the NFC Championship game, which likely denied the Saints a berth in the Super Bowl, they sang and danced.
Danny Wedge, a Saints season-ticket holder, dressed up as either an NFL referee or a Foot Locker employee with Coke-bottle style glasses he bought for about $7 at Party City earlier in the week.
Someone asked where he got the glasses.
“I go to the NFL optometrist,” Wedge said. “I just wear what they give me.”
Another man who wanted to remain anonymous wore a referee’s striped shirt and dark black sunglasses. With the help of friends holding his arms, he negotiated the Decatur Street potholes with a white cane.
Sybil Bridges, another season-ticket holder, wore a Who Dat gold crown, specially outfitted for the boycott parade with a thin, black veil, suitable for mourning.
“I’ve had the costume for a long time, but I got the black veil [Saturday],” she said.
Parades in New Orleans normally have lots of throws — beads, trinkets and stuffed animals. The only things thrown and waved yesterday were hundreds of yellow flags. One NFL “referee” had several of them duct-taped to his shirt so he could not throw one.
Near the end of the parade in the 200 block of Bourbon Street, Jimmy McGill of New Orleans led a vivacious chant and response: “Who got robbed?” McGill shouted. The crowd responded: “We got robbed!” Everyone laughed.
Two other chants seemed to be crowd favorites: “Who Dat say dey gonna cheat dem Saints? Who Dat? Who Dat?” and “You can cheat us, but you can’t beat us.”
It was a two-hour balm for a pain Saints coach Sean Payton said may never go away.
Looking through his thick, fake lenses, Wedge said of the parade: “This could never happen anywhere else except New Orleans.”