Half the fun of home games at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome is seeing New Orleans Saints superfans decked out in all of their black-and-gold glory.
For the past decade, photographer Ron Calamia has stood on the sidelines of the Dome, focusing on Whistle Monsta, Da Pope and dozens of other hardcore Who Dats who not only live for football, but dress the part. The result is FANtastic Saints, a photo-heavy coffee-table tome chronicling 50 costumed characters and the inspiration behind their game-day getups.
“One of the truly amazing things about living in New Orleans is the joie de vivre of the people who reside here,” said Calamia, who counts Marriott and Wyndham hotels, the Palace Casino and celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse among his clients. “Take football, for instance. Over the years I began to notice how amazing the costumes were of Saints fans who dress up for every home game and how many there were. The variety and creativity is like no other city in the league.
“The thousands of fans who watch the games at home—and even many who are in the stadium—have no idea that there are so many fans who have spent hundreds of dollars and hours of their time to make these crazy costumes,” he said. “This book is a tribute to them.
“What I didn’t realize,” Calamia added, “was how amazing their stories of love and devotion to their Saints would be. Their stories are as unique as their costumes, and their universal involvement in local charitable work is an inspiration.”
Calamia was so inspired he’s dedicated a portion of "FANtastic Saints" net proceeds to fan charities. Who dat say there aren’t any team players left in the world?
Gallery: "FANtastic Saints"
All images ©Ron Calamia