New Orleans Aints Nickname Ain’t No More After Today


Crescent city gives last rites to “Aints” nickname with public Jazz Funeral today

By Paul M. Banks

Perhaps no event in life can define the term “emotional roller coaster” as well as a jazz funeral.The darkest depths of despair signified by the slow, low dirges of horns eventually give way to an up tempo swing encapsulating the most euphoric of highs. In Spike Lee’s documentary “Katrina: a Requiem,” a jazz musician describes exactly what a jazz funeral symbolizes. The slow, melancholic portion represents death, and the person who has passed on. The fast, joyous music that follows expresses “yeah, you’re gone, but it was such a pleasure knowing you,” and “sure, you’ve crossed over to the other side- but let’s celebrate that you’re now in a better place than here on Earth.”

On purely a football level, the Saints’ Super Bowl win was a phenomenal story, because it took them literally 33 years to win a playoff game, more than a decade to finish a season with a .500 record, two decades to have a legitimate winning season, and over four decades to reach the Super Bowl.

They were SO BAD for SO LONG, people really began to believe the franchise was cursed due to the fact they built their home stadium, the Louisiana Superdome, on an actual burial ground (the former Girod Street Cemetery). Yet another reason why this death ritual is quite fitting for a team who wears all black each home game. And if you’ve ever sat through an episode of the reality series “Keeping up the Kardashians,” starring Kim Kardashian, girlfriend to backup tailback Reggie Bush- you’ve probably longed for the better predicament of immediate death.

According to The Saints are the Aints no more. To make it semi-official, trombonist Glen David Andrews and the Baby Boyz Brass Band will lead an Aints jazz funeral through Treme and Faubourg Marigny on Saturday, Feb. 20, starting at 4 p.m. Fans are encouraged to bring their old Aints paper bags and place them in a coffin.

Yes, in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, the Saints were so awful that fans once wore paper bags over their heads at home games. Late Lousiana sportscaster Buddy Diliberto gets credit for creating the paper bag masks during a what now seems like ancient history 1-15 season.

For my readers who don’t know what a jazz funeral is, I’ve included two clips. The first is real documentary footage. Be sure to pay attention at the 5-5 1/2 minute mark for tempo change. The second is fictional, but the most well known example of a jazz funeral in pop culture; from the James Bond film “Live and Let Die.”

I can live without the Aints nickname, but I’ll really miss the paper-bag-over-the-head tradition that Saints fans started. It inspired me in 1997 when I was a sophomore at the University of Illinois, with season tickets for an 0-11 football team. I attended every home game, a couple with a paper bag over my head. I soon had a few followers.

Six years later, I visited the city of New Orleans for New Year’s ’03-’04 and had a wonderful experience that gave a positive conclusion to the most trying year of my life. After enduring medical hardship that no 25-year-old should ever even think about having to confront, the vacation was like my own personal version of “How Stella got her Groove Back”.

And that’s what gives the Big Easy it’s most simple yet powerful appeal. It’s where you go when you’re at your lowest point, and ready to bounce up. The city resides at the bottom of the national map, and it’s also the only major American city way below sea level. In other words, the perfect place to get things headed back up again. Just like the Saints’ franchise has perfectly completed. I highly recommend everyone visit the city of New Orleans at least once in their life. And get a few days and nights in on that visit.

The Saints completed their journey from deepest valley to highest peak on Super Bowl Sunday. Today’s Jazz Funeral celebrates that journey in the most fitting manner possible.


  1. loved it!

  2. Definitely one of my more spiritual, and serious emotiional pieces I’ve written. Pr

    This one had a lout of soul too.

  3. Mouth of the South says

    WOW. This is what I am talking about. You really made this one count.
    Left it all on the keypad.

  4. absolutely…all heart. or cajones, chutzpah, stones. ONIONS!!!!!! or whatever you want to call it

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