Tigers and Saints fans flock to stores for merchandise

By Keitha Nelson - bio | email

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - It's a big week for Louisiana football fans. The Tigers are headed to the Cotton Bowl against Texas A&M, a team they haven't tackled in over a decade. And, the Who Dat Nation is chanting "Two Dat," praying for another visit to the Super Bowl. Baton Rouge retailers are also cheering loudly.

As game day draws near, fans are sure to rack up on tops and hats, things to show their Saints and Tiger pride. Besides the basics, stores are filled with just about any kind of item, adorned in purple black or gold, including singing and dancing toys and other wacky memorabilia.

If you've ever wondered who actually buys that stuff, meet Herman Evans. He's been a proud member of the Who Dat Nation since he was a kid, when Saints goods were certainly not flying off the shelves.

"It was kind of rough those days because I was one of the few people without a bag over my head," said Evans. "And I was still wearing a Saints shirt."

Evans' loyalty paid off. After buying his home three years ago, the first room he decorated now has a sign on its door that reads "Saints Country." Painted in black and gold, Evans was thrilled to add Super Bowl winning memorabilia to his elaborate pad. He's among the fans chanting "repeat dat," hopeful the Saints can do it again.

"As long as everybody is healthy, we will be back in the Super Bowl," Evans boasted.

He isn't the only one praying the Saints pull out a victory. Shop owners are thrilled both the Tigers and Saints have enjoyed strong seasons so far.

"We have a huge weekend for Louisiana this weekend with the Cotton Bowl Friday night and the Saints game Saturday," said Pat Randazzo, owner of The Purple and Gold Sports Shop.

Randazzo said things have been pretty busy so far, but a "repeat dat" would be unbelievable for retailers' bottom line.

Copyright 2011 WAFB. All rights reserved.