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Official Review by DeRon Talley, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
Usually people use voodoo dolls for curses, but in New Orleans voodoo dolls are used cheer its Arena League Football team to victory.
“The Graveyard” in the New Orleans Arena is home of the New Orleans VooDoo Arena Football League team and it does a great job hosting its fans.
Since 2004, the New Orleans VooDoo have played its arena football home games in the New Orleans Arena. In 2007 it set an Arena Football League record by dispersing over 13,000 season tickets. Clearly arena football is alive and well in New Orleans.
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Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
In New Orleans Arena there are several places to grab a bite to eat.
At the Pontchartrain Market you can buy a souvenir cup and soft drink for $6.25, nachos for $7, popcorn for $5, and a French Quarter Frank (hot dog) that runs $6.75. Of course, there is always seafood available and none greater than Louisiana Seafood, which is a restaurant located in the arena. Instead of the usual popcorn, nachos and Bud Light, give a famous Louisiana shrimp Po-boy a try and an Abita Beer. But to wave down a cold beer at your seat, be prepared to fork over $8.50 for a long neck Bud Light.
Despite the prices being a bit high for something that is not the National Football League, the food is great - maybe because it's the South. But, nonetheless a Louisiana Po-Boy rates next to none of any item at a concession stand, so I highly recommend it, especially if you are not from the South.
The atmosphere is nothing like an NFL game, but it brings a different type of excitement that you can't help but enjoy. The mascots interact with the fans throughout the game, taking pictures and slapping high-fives with the kiddos. The crowd favorite is the big cuddly yellow monster named "Mojo."
The video board at the top of the arena will spotlight couples with the famous "kiss cam" and if you have some good dance moves to show off, the cameras will find you. Also, if you sit along the sidelines don't be surprised if a 200-pound receiver comes jumping into your lap either.
The neighborhood is spectacular because the arena sits in the middle of the "Big Easy." The arena is right off of Interstate 10 and sets next to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and is in a tourist paradise. The famous Canal Street and Bourbon Street are located just a few blocks away, and of course many great Louisiana restaurants and bars that offer great bites to eat and/or find a traditional New Orleans alcoholic beverage, such as the "Hand Grenade."
Despite the arena not being packed to maximum capacity, the fans are still great in supporting the Voodoo. Because the fans are so close to the action, they showed great appreciation with loud cheers of support of the VooDoo and harsh taunts at the opposing team.
The AFL is often noted for being on the precipice of falling through, but its fans make sure to sport as much merchandise possible. There was even a husband and wife so supportive that they deemed themselves to be the "New Orleans VooDoo Couple," which was one of the most committed support from a couple towards a team I have ever seen. There were so many custom made VooDoo replica jerseys with personalized names and numbers that it confused me to see none of the names on the field.
Finding the arena isn't hard at all, just look for the square building that is next to the big circle building - the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Once you exit Interstate 10 to get to the arena it is pretty easy to find a parking spot because there are traffic officers guiding you to the parking garage that costs $15 to park. The walk from the garage to the arena isn't long. To get to the action, you have to go to the second floor, but there is an escalator available to save you from the flight of stairs.
If you get a low-level seat, you are almost part of the action. I sat on the second row behind the North end zone, and the view I had featured the VooDoo Dolls (the teams' cheerleaders) directly in front of me and the padded wall that separated me from the playing field.
If you sit along the sideline, consider yourself part of the action as players often leap into the stands to avoid big hits against the padded walls.
The VooDoo experience is a good way to enjoy some summer football that is indoors. With a different type of player-fan connection such as fans being able to come down to the playing field after the game and get pictures and autographs of favorite players, and even playing throw and catch too.
Extra points have to be added to the count card for the players' availability to their fans after the games. Being able to greet the players and them being willing to accept the fans with open arms after losing a game shows great sportsmanship, but also the level of respect the VooDoo players have for the fans of New Orleans.
Also, the atmosphere is really boosted when players leap into the stands to avoid being smashed into the wall. It's great to see an older woman get what looks like a lap dance while sitting next to her husband and children. The look on her face is priceless.
VooDoo experiences are thought of as being intimidating to many - especially "Northerners," but this one comes highly recommended.
Member Review by Kearap on Sep 18, 2013
I agree with the official review. As a season ticket holder to the Voodoo since 2006, we always enjoy the games.
New Orleans itself is a great city to visit; full of eclectic people and delicious food. The Voodoo games are just a small concentration of this! There are some of the most creative fans/costumes I've seen (and I go to several professional sports games) and they are loud. It is a natural occurrence for the crowd to shout "incomplete" along with the announcers when the opposing team does not complete a pass.
As far as the food, there is the general concession food along with a local pizza restaurant, Rotolo's, and some great Louisiana seafood options. If you get a seat in the private club level (which the middle bottom sections of the arena) you are privileged to a private club with lots of lounge chairs, leather couches, and table set ups with a fully stocked bar and the aforementioned Abita beer on tap. Purple Haze is my favorite and well worth the extra dollar spent on the cup. There is also a nicer variety of food selections in the club area. My personal favorite, is the seafood alfredo.
There is also a great tailgating atmosphere outside of the arena before the games. The team herse, yes I said herse, along with the Voodoo van are always parked outside and great photo opportunity. There Voodoo doll cheerleaders are usually on hand, and at times, there is even a local band playing.
The only reason I do not give a full 5 on return on investment is because the Voodoo themselves do not always deliver on a good game and vary rarely give us that prized W.
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