Monday, August 8, 2011

One Year Ago Today: The Saints (and I) Go to the White House

One year ago today, I was just entering the White House where I would soon find myself surrounded by the world champion New Orleans Saints, and of course, President Obama.  it was truly one of the single greatest moments of my life.  Even after a year has passed, it seems almost to surreal to explain fully...  But here goes...

Pinch me!!!  I'm still in shock that just yesterday I was in our nation's capital standing only feet away from President Obama and the Superbowl Champion Saints!!!

For four years, since Mark began his tour of duty at the Naval Hospital Beaufort, we have been flying back to New Orleans for home games.  Each and every time our plane landed safely in New Orleans, I was grateful that we were able to see our Boys in Black and Gold play football.  It is a sport my dad taught me to love, and a game that brought me such pure joy in the days of darkness following Katrina.  Like marriage,  I have loved this team in the bad times - you know what I'm talking about -  remember having two inept Billy Joes and the time Aaron Brooks threw the ball backwards to an offensive lineman??  But I have also loved this team in the good times:  September 25, 2006; Deuce's push to the goal line v. Philly, Drew's seven td's to seven different receivers against the Giants in week four (the day I bought our flights to Miami), and Superbowl Sunday.

Yesterday, the height of my Saints fan career was reached when I was able to stand in the East Room and watch Coach Payton and our team represent all of the Gulf South as the 2009 World Champs!

For your viewing pleasure, here are some pictures from truly one of the most amazing days of my life!

I was still a little anxious in this picture because I was so nervous my name was omitted from the list, but I couldn't have been more excited to be in line and about to enter the White House gates.

As we approached the entrance to the White House, we caught our first glimpse of the players.  They were holding a clinic for kids from the Boys and Girls Club as a part of the NFL's Play 60 campaign.

Upon entering the greeting room, we were met with the familiar sounds of New Orleans jazz played by the Marine Corps band.

One by one the players began making there way into the greeting room.  We were not the only ones to be in awe of this incredible experience.  Here, Jonathan Vilma is taking photographs of the band.  Do you spot Reggie Bush???

Maybe this close up shot will help!!!!  (Tracy Porter is in the background.  I wanted to ask him why he didn't have an image of the White House shaved into his head, but I got too shy!).

Here is a photo of Alex Brown (our newest addition at defensive end) and me.  He was so nice and very excited to be a part of the team.

And here is one of Wendell Pierce and me.  You may remember how much I love the show The Wire, and of course, Treme is a favorite too.  And, as a local he has taken on a role in the Be the One campaign.  Meeting him was incredible.  He brought his mom and dad and his brother, and it was sweet to see how excited he was about meeting the team!

Drew Brees is in the building!  Woohoooooooo!!!

After much anticipation, we all filed into the East Room.  The announcer came on and asked us to stand and congratulate the 2009 World Champion New Orleans Saints.  And as the players filed in and found their places on the bleachers at the front of the room, the band played "When the Saints Go Marching In."  It was such a special moment.  And you could see how touched the players were as they all had out their cameras and videocameras.  Truly once in a lifetime!!

And for the moment everyone had been waiting for, we were asked to stay rising to welcome the President of the United States.  I thought President Obama's speech was funny and heartwarming and truly captured the magical relationship this team has with its fans.

The President invited Drew to join Coach Payton on the stage to recognize him for the work he is doing to emphasize the importance of health and fitness in the lives of children.  What a great guy!

Mickey Loomis (the Saints GM) joined the President on stage, and I imagine in this moment he is telling Drew how they will manage to be back at the White House this time next year.  Can you say "Two Dat?!?!"

After the team presented the President with his very own jersey, the President went to each player to express his warmest regards and congratulations.

After the President congratulated the players, they were escorted out of the East Wing and onto the lawn where they watched as the President left via Marine Force One.

On our way out, we managed to spot a few familiar faces heading to the team bus.  Doesn't Jeremy Shockey look fabulous in his salmon seersucker blazer.  He stopped to tell us hi and take pictures with us (my eyes were closed dangit.).

And here's Mr. and Mrs. Benson.  He was so excited that I swear I thought I saw him sneak in his signature Benson boogie!

He couldn't wait for us to get a shot of his ring.  I have to say they are GORGEOUS!  And props to Mr. Benson for taking his look old school and sporting the pinky ring...

This post would not be complete without a HUGE thank you to my friend Anne.  I'd first like to thank her for adopting New Orleans as her home and spending time in DC this summer lobbying on behalf of the Audubon Institute for clean energy.  But I'd also like to thank her for considering me for this amazing experience.  

When I got a call from her on Thursday asking if I could get to the White House by Monday at 8:20 am, I thought they were going to have to take me to the ER.  My heart literally stopped beating.  I never in my wildest dreams thought I'd be in the East Room as the Superbowl Champion Saints met the President.  This experience will be one that I will never fully be able to put into words.  But, to be there to see our boys, our team, celebrate the pinnacle of success - holy cow.  From the bottom of my heart that pumps Black and Gold blood through my veins, thank you Anne.  This was truly one of the greatest days of my life!
Anne and me in the East Room


  1. Wow. What an amazing experience!! I can not even imagine how excited you were. Wow. I am just sort of speechless! Mark must have been so jealous!! (but of course so excited for you)

  2. Girl this is amazing. What an incredible experience!!!!! Thanks for sharing these pictures. I posted a link to your blog on Facebook for all of my Louisiana folks to see! :o)

  3. Is it lame that MY heart was racing just looking at YOUR photos!!!! How flippin cool! I'm sooo excited for you.

  4. Ahhh! So amazing! SO jealous you got pictures with Reggie; loove him!
    That is a one-of-a-kind experience you will always remember!

  5. What a neat experience....Though I live in La....I am a Brett F fan...and hope he is in NO on a Thurs night the first week in Sept...Just finished Drew B book and he is a class act...

  6. I'm just amazed!! This experience is one of those that happens once in a lifetime. Words just can't describe! The pictures and story are just awesome!!

  7. You def are their #1 fan! What a fun experience for you!

  8. O.M.G. I am so jealous!! Thank you for taking such wonderful photos and letting everyone live vicariously through you!

  9. what an amazing day! I am impressed you were able to keep it together. I think I would have lost it from excitement!

  10. WOW!!!! That is soooooo cool!!!!!!!! Thanks for sharing the pictures! :)

  11. A perfectly captured moment! Love the combo of Saints and my DG sisters...fab! Can't wait to have you back in NOLA...go Saints!

  12. Amazing! I bet it was a magical day, and certainly a day you'll never forget. Isn't Reggie handsome?

  13. This is just awesome!! Totally awesome!!! I can't even imagine the excitement you must have felt experiencing all of this!!!! Seeing all of the players in your pictures got me soooo excited for my trip to NOLA in October. While I WILL be cheering for the Steelers at the game (I am a 'Burgh girl--so don't hold that against me!)--I have SUCH respect for the Saints. I totally cheered for them throughout the playoffs last year and was soooo happy they won!!! Thanks for sharing all the inside details of your trip on your blog! It was great to read!

  14. OMGAWD!!!!!!

    So jealous!!

    I thought about you yesterday when I was in Black & Gold off Causeway. I had to get a tag & sticker & key chain AND jammies for my new car:) well. the jammies were for home, ha!!

  15. love this post!! what an amazing day with memories that will last a lifetime! so glad you went!!!

  16. Now that is a once in a lifetime experience! Amazing!

  17. The post that I've been waiting for!! I'm so jealous of you! Have you gotten any nasty emails from Kim K yet?? ;-)

  18. OMG OMG OMG OMG.. that is AMAZING.. i am sooo jealous.. such an amazing experience. and one you will NEVER forget.. Thanks for sharing

  19. WOW that is just SO exciting, lucky you!!!

  20. Looks like you had a blast! What an honor too! It's such a surreal feeling to be in the same room with the team isn't it? I went to their pre-Super Bowl press conferences, and the locker room after the big win, and the energy is just insane!

    Though I have to note, as much as I love Jeremy Shockey (being a former 'Cane like me and all), I always wonder who dresses him?!? Blazer is great, but what's going on below his knees?



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