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Football fever sweeps New Orleans as Saints, Vikings meet

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; NEW ORLEANS — Nobody thought twice about wearing black to this wedding. For two rabid fans of the New Orleans Saints, the only possible colors were black and gold as they exchanged vows in a tailgate wedding hours before the ...

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Old 09-09-2010, 10:20 PM   #1
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Football fever sweeps New Orleans as Saints, Vikings meet

NEW ORLEANS — Nobody thought twice about wearing black to this wedding. For two rabid fans of the New Orleans Saints, the only possible colors were black and gold as they exchanged vows in a tailgate wedding hours before the NFL season opener.

Black fabric roses with gold fleurs-de-lis made up bride Gloria Darlene Paige’s bouquet; groom Charlie Vanderpool’s wore black suit, gold tie and a boutonniere emblazoned with a miniature Saints helmet.

Fans lining up outside the Louisiana Superdome to see the Saints play the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday evening cheered the newlyweds tied the knot on a gold cloth runway laid down on the crushed shells of a parking lot beneath an underpass.

Sound systems from tailgate crowds all around drowned out the wedding vows and a gaggle of news photographers crowded the hitherto unknown bride and groom out from under their Saints wedding canopy.

"I want us to two-dat," Vanderpool said before the ceremony that made them one. He meant a second Saints Super Bowl victory. But it also was the second wedding for both: Vanderpool’s first wife died of cancer after Hurricane Katrina; the marriage that brought Paige from California to New Orleans 23 years ago ended early last year.

The couple met at Thanksgiving.

Around the Louisiana Superdome, tailgating began near sunrise, more than 12 hours before the Saints were to open the defense of their Super Bowl title.

The city was in Mardi Gras mode: schools set to close early and concerts and a parade planned in the French Quarter. Even City Hall closed for the day.

Many of the parking lots around the stadium had been rented out for tailgating.

Oilfield worker Jeff Steen, 33, said his crowd began chilling beer kegs and stacking up liquor Wednesday night for a party of about 450.

"It’s going to be absolutely great," he said. "Unless the Saints lose. I don’t even want to think about that."

On Bourbon Street, four deputies from Stillwater, Minn., decked out in Vikings jerseys and carnival beads, had drinks in their hands and smiles on their faces.

"People have been great," said Lonnie Van Klie, 45. "They’ve been offering to buy us drinks, shaking our hands, wishing us a good game."

No one had suggested the Vikings would win, the group said, but Tray Lake, 38, said he was unimpressed with the Saints, despite their Super Bowl victory.

"They had a great year, but I have to point out the 43 before that," he said. "They’ve had their fun."

John Fisk, 49, of Laplace, who works in construction, said he was happy to see lots of Vikings fans. "We’re welcoming them," he said. "They’re nice people, just misguided."



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