There’s no doubt that New Orleans is a hub for sports. In our city, the only passion that may give sports a run for its money is the pride we take in our cuisine. The tradition of tailgating combines our city’s two greatest pastimes to create the ultimate experience for both residents and tourists in New Orleans.
The Importance of Tailgating
Most of us grew up heading to games with our families, sprawled out on blankets while Dad grilled hot dogs, ribs and maybe the occasional pot of jambalaya. WHO DAT rings through the air. This common tradition, passed down from generation to generation, not only holds a special place for New Orleanians but also has a rich history. In the ’80s, when the Saints began to improve, popularity of the games did as well. It wasn’t until after Hurricane Katrina, when the Saints became a symbol of recovery and something every one of us could rally behind, that we saw tailgaters come out in masses. Hence the rise of our famous tailgating parties.
How Tailgating Creates Jobs
But tailgating isn’t only a fun pastime. It’s also a profitable channel for New Orleans. In a city where more than 78,000 locals are employed thanks to the tourism industry, sports events and the tailgating that accompany them offer economic opportunities. Tailgating at sporting events offers opportunities for our fellow New Orleanians to work in the food and drink industry, ticket sales or even as security guards monitoring the well-attended events. Plus, the tourists who travel to the “Big Easy” spend money on hotels, food, drinks and souvenirs while they’re staying in our beautiful town. Over 9 million tourists travel to New Orleans each year and spend more than $6 billion, and a significant part of that attraction is thanks to our sports teams.
As our city continues to grow, and our sports teams continue to dominate, sporting events, whether it be football, basketball or even baseball, will continue drawing in visitors and improving our economy. New Orleans relies heavily on the tourism industry to survive, and it’s through our colorful culinary and sports traditions that we can continue to thrive.