Since when can a corporation trademark a culture?
The NFL is claiming ownership of the phrase "Who Dat." I am normally a laissez bon temps roule or laissez faire kind of guy, but I can not believe the audacity of the NFL.
NEW ORLEANS - As the Saints' appearance in their first Super Bowl gets closer, the marketplace is being flooded with Saints merchandise and memorabilia as businesses are looking to cash in on the euphoria, but the NFL is cracking down on the use of their trademarks, including the iconic phrase "Who Dat."
This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard.
Who Dat belongs to the people of New Orleans. There is a unique language that is spoken in the city that comes from the mixture of people and cultures that make up the city. It derives from the history of the city and it belongs to the people.
"Who Dat" became part of a chant for fans cheering on their favorite team. It has been debated exactly where it started, but some claim it began with Southern University fans either in the late 1960s or early 1970s and went "Who dat say dey gonna beat dem Jags" - Southern University being nicknamed the Jaguars. Another claim is that around the same time it began at St. Augustine High School, a historically African-American all boys Catholic high school in New Orleans, and then spread to the New Orleans Public Schools. Another claim is that the cheer originated at Patterson High School in Patterson, Louisiana (home of Saints running back Dalton Hilliard). In the late 70's fans at Louisiana State University picked up on the cheer. By 1983, the New Orleans Saints organization officially adopted it during the tenure of coach Bum Phillips, and Aaron Neville (along with local musicians Sal and Steve Monistere and Carlo Nuccio) recorded a version of "When the Saints Go Marching In" that incorporated the chant (performed by a group of Saints players) that became a major local hit, due in part to the support of sportscaster Ron Swoboda and the fact that Saints fans had been using the chant already.
The chant of "Who Dat?" originated in minstrel shows and vaudeville acts of the late 1800s and early 1900s, and was then taken up by jazz and big band performers in the 1920s and 30s.
The first reference to "Who Dat?" can be found in the 19th Century. A featured song in E.E. Rice's "Summer Nights" is the song "Who Dat Say Chicken In dis Crowd", with lyrics by poet Paul Laurence Dunbar. A common tag line in the days of Negro minstrel shows was: "Who dat?" answered by "Who dat say who dat?" Many different blackfaced gags played off that opening. Vaudeville performer Mantan Moreland was known for the routine. Another example is "Swing Wedding," a rarely shown 1930s Harmon-Ising cartoon musical, which caricatured Fats Waller, Cab Calloway, Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, Ethel Waters, and the Mills Brothers as frogs in a swamp performing minstrel show jokes and jazz tunes. The frogs repeatedly used the phrase "who dat."
The history of New Orleans is rooted in Jazz and french heritage.
While the fleur-de-lis has appeared on countless European coats of arms and flags over the centuries, it is particularly associated with the French monarchy in a historical context, and continues to appear in the arms of the King of Spain and the Grand Duke of Luxembourg, members of the House of Bourbon. It remains an enduring symbol of France that appears on French postage stamps, although it has never been adopted officially by any of the French republics. In North America, the fleur-de-lis is often associated with areas formerly settled by France, such as Quebec, St. Louis, Louisville, and Louisiana, and with French-speaking people in other Canadian provinces.
New Orleans has been covered in the Fleur de lis long before 1967. I mention this because the NFL is also claiming ownership of it as well:
Two weeks ago, Thom got a cease and desist order from the NFL.
"They're telling me not to print anymore shirts and to get rid of the inventory that I have because it says the words 'Who dat' and it has a gold fleur de lis on the shirt," she said.
New Orleans is also a very catholic city and that is likely why the Saints was chosen as the team name. The history of New Orleans is on loan to the NFL. Not the other way around. No other team has adopted the traditions of their city like the Saints, but that does not give the right to own the traditions.
In my opinion Who Dat, the Fleur de lis, the colors black and gold and the name Saints all belong to the city of New Orleans. Any royalties that are paid should go to a fund to create jobs in the city.
I've been hearing chants of Who Dat since I moved to the area in '79 or '80. It was from the fans, not the team nor the NFL.