PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) – "I never thought I'd be wearing a dress ever in my life," said Chris Diliberto.
As he said the words, he wore a black knee-length zip-front dress, complete with three fleur-de-lis. Embroidered on the dress were the words "In Loving Memory of Buddy D."
This Sunday, not only will Chris Diliberto don the dress, he'll walk the streets of New Orleans in it, in honor of his father, Buddy D, the famed WWL radio personality. A long-time Saints fan and commentator, Buddy D promised listeners he would wear a dress if the Saints went to the Super Bowl. He died in 2005, before the Saints got a chance to go to the big game.
Diliberto couldn't believe his eyes last Sunday when the Saints finally did it.
"When that kick went through the end zone, I wanted to cry. I wanted to jump for joy. I just took it all in and really enjoyed the moment," Diliberto said. "Then I thought about my dad and said, 'This is for you.'"
Diliberto said he can hardly imagine his dad's reaction if he were alive to witness the win.
"He spent 50 years as a sportscaster and sportswriter in this area, and it would probably be the happiest moment of his life."
It would also be the moment he put on a dress. In Buddy D's absence, Diliberto will be doing so in his honor. At noon Sunday, Diliberto, WWL personalities Bobby Hebert and Abdul K. Tentmakur, and possibly thousands of fans will don their dresses and walk from the Superdome's 1A gate to Bourbon Street. WWL radio is promoting the event.
"I thought it would just be a little, you know we put the dress on and get a few pictures, but this turned out to be a lot bigger than that," Diliberto said. "And the support from the Coast and the City of New Orleans, it's just been unbelievable with this thing. And they expected thousands and thousands of people in New Orleans Sunday with the dresses on, and how many, we don't even know yet."
Diliberto said he's thrilled his father's legacy lives on as part of the Saints' historic season.
"It's going to be a tribute to Buddy, and I appreciate the sponsorship and everybody that's doing this for him," Diliberto said. "It's almost unreal that he's been dead five years, and people are still talking about him and relating him to the Saints. We really appreciate the love that's shown for him, and we're on the way to the Super Bowl! What can I say?"
As for the dress, Diliberto is happy with it, but this week's events are causing to consider a few changes.
"If I'd have known that the NFL was going to make a big deal out of this 'Who Dat,' there'd be white 'Who Dats' and the NFL logo all over this dress. Because that belongs to the Gulf Coast 'Who Dats,' not the NFL! I can tell you that!"
Diliberto said another dress wearing event is in the works for South Mississippi after the Super Bowl. He said he hopes Mississippi 'Who Dats' will bring their dresses for a march down Market Street in Pascagoula in the days following the big game.