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Karen Dalton-Beninato Headshot

Who Dat: What Has Happened Here is the Winds Have Changed

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What has happened here is the winds have changed. Randy Newman wrote it in Louisiana 1927 and the song remains the same. Since I filed the first story on the Who Dat controversy days ago, thousands of hits and hundreds of comments show how strongly we hold that combination of words. The refrain has been: "Katrina took my home, and you can take Who Dat out of my cold, dead hands." And that is no exaggeration.

Because post-Katrina levee failure the Who Dat nation has been divided between residents and the displaced. Between who did and did not rally around the first President, Governor or Mayor. Between who does and who does not rally around the new President and Governor, and who or will not support the new mayor, elected in a week barring a runoff. What have we rallied around?

Our Superbowl-bound Saints.

And now Who Dat Nation is mad as hell. We no longer trust that our wetlands will be saved and our levees can protect us. We do not trust that this economy can give us a living wage.

We do trust that if you believe in a team with all your heart, a miracle can happen. That miracle has been born of the spirit of the team and the spirit of the city. You see Who Dat everywhere in New Orleans. I've seen it on a dog. I've seen it on a breast. I've seen it on a sushi roll. One Tweet from @FleurtyGirl about a Cease and Desist for her #WhoDat tee shirt jumped from a note by my friend @yatpundit to my interview with the Monistere brothers who claim to hold the Who Dat trademark.

As far as who has not chimed in, it's a short list. Senators, mayoral candidates, and even the Saints coach have been asked about who owns the rights to Who Dat. There's only one answer anyone in New Orleans wants to hear - not the NFL. Fleurty Girl's cease and desist catipulted the NFL to Headline News, and not in the good way. All of this blowback reminds me of the scene in Oh Brother Where Art Thou when a popular band burst onto the stage with In Constant Sorrow. One candidate wants to call miscegenation and the other sees that the crowd likes the song. Our politicians, our businesses, our coach and the residents of Who Dat Nation are the crowd that needs this song.

Who Dat.

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