Excited Who Dats rally in downtown Gulfport

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The NFL lockout is behind us, now Saints fans are breaking out their black and gold. The Saints' first game of the pre-season against the San Francisco 49ers kicks off Friday night.

Fans flocked to downtown Gulfport to show off their Saints spirit. The weather was blistering hot Thursday, but Saints fever was even hotter.

"Party with the Saints. Whatever we can do to support them," said Linda Hudson of Biloxi.

The boys in black and gold hit the field Friday night.  Hancock Bank hosted a tailgate party to rally the fans and kick off the football season.

"Every body's excited about Saints football," said Carl Chaney, Hancock Bank CEO and President. "We got a great turnout and it doesn't surprise me at all."

People of all ages turned Lighthouse Park in downtown Gulfport into Saints central.

"Who Dat Nation. All day long," said Calvin May of Gulfport.

"Ready for the game tomorrow!" said his wife Nokita.

"Front and center. People ready. We're ready to go," said Calvin.

They feasted on jambalaya and crawfish pie.  Some came for other reasons.

"The Saintsations. I want to see them shake their booty out there," said Doc McCollum of Biloxi.

And the lovely ladies didn't disappoint. They posed for pictures and signed autographs for diehard fans.

Meanwhile, another Saints star, Gumbo the mascot, tried to charm the crowd.  It wasn't hard at all getting the Who Dats pumped-up and ready for another championship season.

"Because I'm a big Who Dat fan and we're going to make it to number one," said May.

"We're going to repeat dat," said Hudson.

At the party, Hancock Bank also launched its new Saints debit card. The bank also held a drawing for four tickets to Friday night's game, along with sideline and parking passes.

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