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Who Dat Saintly Fleur de Lis?

Being a New Orleanian by birth and having grown up on the street named “Fleur de Lis Drive” that suffered badly from the effects of Hurricane Katrina, I’ve been ‘flooded’ with mail and calls from friends about the hullabaloo going on in New Orleans over the Saints football team’s infringement of copyright.

We here in Paris may not be paying all that much attention to who’s headed for the Super Bowl, but all this noise over a Fleur de Lis sure does strike this “New Orleanian-turned-Parisienne’s” home.

The Saints are marchin’ in toward the Super Bowl this Sunday (already a big ‘coup’ for the team and the city) and their anthem, “Who Dat?” has become a controversial issue. Just to clarify, “who dat?” is “Yat” dialect for “who is that?,” and if you know anything about New Orleans, you know that “Whay ya’ at?” is how “Yats” (native New Orleanians) say “How are you doing?” “Dis is haw I groo up taakin’,” before I learned any French or even how to speak so anyone outside of the Big Easy could understand me.

But “Who Dat” is an ingenious marketing campaign that started with a recording in 1983 by Sal and Steve Monistere with members of the Saints offensive line and singer Aaron Neville. Now merchants are printing it on T-shirts and just about everywhere one can make an imprint with a Fleur de Lis in the “o” stirring up even more hullabaloo.

The NFL is cracking down on the unauthorized sales of merchandise bearing the “Who Dat?,” claiming they own the slogan and particularly with those with the Fleur de Lis on it! Merchants are receiving cease and desist orders, but doubt it’s doing much to stop them or their fans.

What cracks me up with that the NFL and the Saints think they ‘own’ the Fleur de Lis, as if they somehow invented the French symbol of the lily. And then the people of New Orleans have come along and said “No, it belongs to everyone including the people of New Orleans.” will tell you that it’s a symbol of royalty dating back to 5th-century symbolic usage by King Clovis I in 493. So, all this time, the French thought it was theirs! Go figure!

Watch out — wear one in your lapel in France and they will think politically you’re a royalist! Where one in New Orleans, and they’ll know you’re a Saints fan.

Either way, I’m wearin’ it. Have you ever seen my Fleur de Lis stockings? They’re a product of
New Orleans, of course…but worn with the spirit of France.

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris

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P.S. Lori Allen from the American Writers & Artists Inc just sent me an airfare deal you might like to take advantage of in you’re headed to France any time soon…Lori is taking nine people to Paris this May for AWAIÔÇÖs annual photography workshop and she came across this airfare deal to pass along to their attendees. Flights from JFK to Paris this May are only $1,310. You can learn more here: or you can call Alice Derry at (202) 370-6459 (Eastern time zone) or toll-free at (866) 415-1425. You can also email Lori at [email protected], but be sure to tell you Adrian Leeds and Parler Paris sent you!

P.P.S. See you next Tuesday at Apr├Ęs Midi to meet up with other Parler Paris readers! Visit for more information.


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