Who Dat started Diz? Who knows?

NEW ORLEANS — Who Dat? Who Dat say they originated the Who Dat cheer? Who Dat? Who Dat?

The one thing we do know, for certain: It wasn’t the New Orleans Saints.

Nevertheless, several New Orleans businesses that sell Who Dat? T-shirts have been served cease-and-desist orders from the National Football League.

With the Saints preparing to play in their first Super Bowl on Feb. 7 in Miami, against the Indianapolis Colts, Saints’ fever is rampant in the Crescent City.

Any merchandise bearing the Saints’ brand, or a Who Dat? motif, is a hot seller.

But the NFL believes it has the rights to the term: Who Dat?, even though the term has been around since long, long before Saints fans started cheering “Who Dat?” in the early 1980s.

Don’t believe me. Ask The Godfather. He would be the venerable Marino Casem, the College Hall of Farmer who for many years coached football and was athletic director at Alcorn State University in Lorman before retiring in Baton Rouge, where he now enjoys the New Orleans Who Dats.

He doesn’t begrudge the Saints, but he knows that long before recording star Aaron Neville helped popularize “Who Dat?” as a Saints cheer in 1981, Alcorn fans were chanting it about the purple and gold Braves.

“Who Dat? Who Dat? Who Dat say dey gonna beat dem Braves, Who Dat, Who Dat?”

ClarionLedger.com
1/29/10