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Fan Club of the Month: New England Patriots Fans of New Orleans
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Sometimes all it takes is change in venue for things to take off for a fan club. For fans of the New England Patriot Fans of New Orleans, stumbling upon the American Sports Saloon in the French Quarter helped boost the number of people who stop by to watch Patriots games with them.
Deep in Saints country, the club’s move from bar to bar made it tough finding consistent crowds to show up with them every Sunday. With bars dedicating sound to the Saints games, the club found their options limited. About a year ago, club president Thadius Devine stumbled upon American Sports Saloon, owned by Robert Mendoza and by the end of the season, the club averaged 60 to 100 people from week to week.
“They've given us dedicated sound and what not, and the owners have been awesome,” Thadius said. “I mean they've liked our group ever since we've been coming there, so it's been good.”
Not only has finding the bar helped them to increase the number of people watching with them, it has also given Thadius a partner. For Robert, helping the club grow proved to be a no-brainer. With ties to New England after graduating from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), he wants to give Patriots fans watching the games in New Orleans a unique experience and a comfortable atmosphere for them to celebrate the team.
The two now split the duties of leading a fan club. While Thadius works to interact with members of the club by welcoming them in and communicating with them on a day-to-day basis, Robert works promote the club and their activities on social media, as well as the Patriots Fan Club and Bar Registry.
Along with promoting the club on social media, Thadius and Robert found that the location of the bar played a big role in enticing people to come out on game day. Right on the edge of the French Quarter, locals and visitors have a number of reasons to stop by. Fans that live in the area won’t have to venture too far, and fans who visit the city from other parts of the country have the option to explore one of New Orleans’ oldest neighborhoods.
With fans from the city and out-of-towners hanging out together, they quickly find connections that they wouldn’t have expected.
“It became interesting to see. The locals would be here and suddenly you would hear somebody yell out a name across the room and it would be like somebody who had moved here to New Orleans or maybe some neighbor or friend of a neighbor,” Robert said.
The club hopes to share that camaraderie with the rest of Patriots Nation when they descend on the city for the matchup against the Saints in September. On Friday night, fans can gather at the American Sports Saloon, where they can hang out upstairs with fans of New England sports teams and enjoy some of the specials available for the night. Sunday, the club will cohost a tailgate before the game with the Patriots Tailgate group.
“I really like that we have people in other states that tell us they're coming back on a particular day and time and that they're coming to visit us,” Thadius said. “I would like to continue that sort of camaraderie or friendship throughout different states and the desire to return to meet up with us when they do return to New Orleans.”