New Orleans Sports: Saints and Pelicans

For a city that loves to play so much, New Orleans once wasn't considered much of a professional sports town. Season after season of disappointment had even earned their football team the local nickname "the Aints." Things changed over the last several years, after two of the city's pro teams saw unprecedented success. The victories represented a comeback—not just for the teams, but for the entire city.

New Orleans Saints

The Saints went marching in to victory in Miami in 2010 when they became Super Bowl champions for the first time. Throughout that season—which opened with 13 wins in a row—New Orleans was abuzz, united in Saints spirit like never before. The Super Bowl XLIV victory parade fell just a week before Mardi Gras and drew 800,000 people. It was the largest parade crowd some locals say they've ever seen, which is truly impressive for America's party city.

Today, despite ups and downs over the last few seasons, Saints fever continues unabated. Fans are as enthusiastic as ever and celebrate in Champions Square, just outside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, a hot spot for pre- and postgame partying. Whether you're at the Dome or watching the Saints on TV, keep an eye out for some of the Saints' most famous fans: Halo Saint, who wears a gold Transformer-esque getup; Da Pope, dressed as the pontiff himself; Whistle Monsta, in black-and-gold face paint and Saints uniform, with a giant gold whistle atop his helmet; and Voodoo Man, sporting a tux jacket, top hat, and ghostly face paint.

Where they play: Mercedes-Benz Superdome (Sugar Bowl Dr., CBD)

Season: August–January

How to buy tickets: Individual tickets are technically not for sale (the Dome has been sold out on season tickets alone since 2006), but resale tickets aren't hard to come by. Your best bet is the NFL Ticket Exchange (

Famous players, past and present: Drew Brees, Rickey Jackson, Archie Manning

Past highlights: Won Super Bowl XLIV in 2010; made playoffs in 2011, 2012, and 2013

New Orleans Pelicans

The Pelicans, who from 2002 through 2012 kept the “Hornets” moniker they arrived with from Charlotte, have seen mixed results over the years. Hurricane Katrina sent the team to Oklahoma City from 2005 to 2007, but they returned to New Orleans for the 2007–08 season and made the playoffs two years in a row. Anthony Davis led the team to the playoffs in 2014 and 2018, before leaving the franchise for good. In 2019, college basketball star Zion Williamson came on board, reigniting fans' hopes for the New Orleans Pelicans.

Where they play: Smoothie King Center (1501 Dave Dixon Dr., CBD)

Season: October–April

How to buy tickets: Contact the ticket office by phone or online (504/525–HOOP

Past highlights: Making the NBA playoffs in 2008, 2009, 2011, 2014, and 2018

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