If you're not one of the lucky 80,000 people attending Sunday's New Orleans Saints game at the Superdome, you can take heart in that New Orleans bars and restaurants have no shortage of ways to please you on game day. In case you still haven't figured out where to meet up with you friends to watch New Orleans host the Falcons, here are five restaurants and bars hat offer food and drink specials for Who Dat Nation.
• Borgne, 601 Loyola Ave., 504-613-3860 — An obvious choice since it's located in the Hyatt Regency Hotel next to the Superdome. Borgne serves up special game day omelets before Saints games and features bar snacks for those who can't find a table. Get there early as it fills up quick.
• Finn McCool's, 3701 Banks St., 504-486-9080 — Better known for showing a different kind of football, this Mid-City neighborhood pub converts to a Black and Gold mecca during Saints games. Get there an hour before kickoff and enjoy a free buffet that changes week-to-week and wash it all down with beer bucket specials ($9 domestic, $13 imported) during the game.
• Little Gem Saloon, 445 S. Rampart St., 504-267-4863 — Just a short walk from the Superdome, the Little Gem Saloon holds Saints game day parties with a special food menu featuring “dirty bird” fried chicken, crab cakes, red beans and rice, barbecue oysters and more. Though it fills up in the hours before the game, it's a prime venue to watch the game after all the ticketholders head out to the Dome.• The Rusty Nail, 1100 Constance St., 504-525-5515 — This Warehouse District pub opens at 9 a.m. for Saints home games and features an $8 make-your-own bloody mary bar and beer bucket specials as well as stadium seating and plenty of TVs to watch the game. In case you need something to fortify your stomach for a long day of drinking, there's always a food truck (usually Foodie Call) outside serving up grub.
Near the end of August, local actor and comedian Tony Frederick was walking down the street when a tourist asked him what NOLA stood for. “That’s easy!” he retorted. “No one likes Atlanta!”
Over drinks that same night, Frederick told the joke to friend and designer Cortni Witherspoon. That was on a Tuesday. By the following Saturday, Witherspoon had designed a range of t-shirts with a No One Likes Atlanta logo, and within 24 hours the new company had more than 200 Facebook likes.
The New Orleans Advocate, which expanded from Baton Rouge into the New Orleans market 11 months ago, is now the official newspaper of the New Orleans Saints and New Orleans Pelicans, Advocate owner John Georges announced tonight at a reception at the Superdome, along with Tom Benson, owner of the Saints and Pelicans, and Saints co-owner Rita Benson LeBlanc.
The deal does not extend to naming rights to the New Orleans Arena, though Georges said there would be plenty of Advocate signage in the city's Superdome/Arena sports complex.
The partnership between two of New Orleans' wealthiest and most influential families drew a crowd of several hundred business leaders and politicos to the Bienville Club Lounge on the third floor of the Superdome, including most of the New Orleans City Council and Jefferson Parish President John Young, as well as Benson's wife Gayle and Georges' wife Dathel.
Most of The Advocate's New Orleans editorial staff was on hand as well, though editor Peter Kovacs said the newspaper and sports teams' partnership would not extend to editorial in any way, but simply be a marketing and promotional tool for both entities.
(Editorial will be involved in one immediate way; The Advocate plans to print a commemorative broadsheet edition this Sunday to mark the Saints' season opener against the Atlanta Falcons, and the paper's New Orleans staff has been told to show up at the Dome Saturday night so they can personally tuck 70,000 copies of the paper in the seats.)
Gleason Gras-goers will feel right at home in Champion Square Friday, with a slew of local musical acts ringing in the annual event and its accompanying New Orleans Saints Pep Rally.
Galactic and Friends will headline, bringing some funk to the start of another football season, and Andres Osborne, Kevin Griffin (of Better than Ezra), John Michael Rouchell, The Breton Sound and Coyotes will also take the stage in the battle against ALS. Griffin is back for his second Gleason Gras performance, a decision he says is simple, given the friend he's found in Steve Gleason.
Appearances by Saints players, coaches and other special guests will turn heads, not to mention Gleason himself, plus Saints fan contests and a viewing of the Lombardi Trophy is on tap from 4 to 7 p.m.
Over 5,000 people packed the event last year, and Team Gleason is expecting a similar turnout for the third annual Gleason Gras Friday. The event raises awareness for ALS and supports the Gleason Family Trust, the organization established to to help offset the costs of life with the disease.
Gleason Gras is free and open to the public, though VIP and tailgate zone tickets are still available at www.gleasongras.org. The entire event runs from 4 to 10 p.m.
Listen to music, see the stars of New Orleans football and eat a Juan's Flying Burrito (or a specialty from one of 15 other food vendors) for a good cause.
God's speed, Rodrigue
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