Who Dat for What Dats

O. BrotherContributor IMarch 4, 2010

NEW ORLEANS - FEBRUARY 09: New Orleans Saints fans cheer on as their team passes in front of the Louisiana Superdome while parading though the city after winning the Super Bowl XLIV on February 9, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Sean Gardner/Getty Images

The Sho-nuff Handbook and Dishin-ary of da Who Dat Nation.

The 2010 U.S. census records the nationality of every American. By far, the people who have seen the greatest population increase in the last decade is the American Who Dat Nation.

The Who Dats began in the southern Mississippi River valley of Louisiana in 1967, though at that time, they were known only as Coonasses. Primarily of French descent, language, and customs, the Coonasses are an amalgam of other various peoples including Spanish, African, Native American, English, Italian, and West Indian, all of whom at one time or another inhabited or occupied the City of New Orleans and the surrounding region.

One of the cultural cornerstones of the Coonass people lies in their ritualistic devotion to the local professional football franchise, the New Orleans Saints. It is through this relationship that the Coonasses, around 1986, would become known as the Who Dats.

Unlike many rallying cries and slogans, the origin of the term ‘Who Dat’ was not the result of deliberate cheer writing or cleverly-crafted marketing, but was taken from the very tongue of the people who came to be known by that name.

The common question to posit when inquiring about the identity of a particular person is to ask “Who is that?”  In the easy and informal speech of Coonasses, the question can be prefixed with any specifying information, for example, “Who is that said my butt was big?”

When speaking English, the Coonass’ heavy French accent, seasoned with the southern drawl born of bucolic living, imparts a lazy muscality to their speech. Thus, “Who is that?” is spoken as “Who dat?”  Indeed, the phonetic ‘th’ sound is pronounced as a ‘d’ in most words or as a ‘t’ in others.

Therefore, “Who is that thinking they are going to throw the ball on fourth-and-one?” may sound like “Who dat tinkin dey gone trow de ball on fort-n-one?” when spoken in Who Datish (courtesy of Bobby Hebert).

Around the early to mid 1980’s, the proud Coonass fans of the Saints were often heard to shout in response to a team victory with the exultation, “Who dat say dey gone beat dem Saints?!!” The prevalent use of this cheer made many begin to refer to a Coonass as the [one who says] ‘who dat’ or, of all Coonasses, the ‘Who Dats’. And so, the Who Dat Nation came to be.

To get you used to hearing and speaking the Who Dat language, the remainder of this work will be written in Who Datish.

De impact of de Saints on de Who Dats cannot be underestimated. When de Saints’ effort on de field is half-hearted, de Who Dats go to work only half-hearted.

When de Saints call in sick on Sundy, de Who Dats call in sick on Mundy.

When de Saints played like dey had bags over dare heads, de Who Dats wore bags over dare heads.

When de Saints work hard and win, de Who Dats party hard and call in sick on Mundy.

Tru de first 17 hundid years of de Saints existence, de Who Dats were lef wit no utter trophy den de banner of hope for de next season. Den one day, a miracle happened.

De Saints won de Subabowe.

As de fame of de Saints grew, de Who Dat nation grew widdit. Many folks around de country and around de worl have join de Who Dat Nation. Derefore, to hep wid becoming accussomed to de Who Dat culture, I bring our new membas dis handbook dat dey can use wheneva dey visit N’yorlins or when encounerin’ a Who Dat in de casino or in public.

To start off, here are some helpful definitions of common Who Dat words:

dare – there

dis – this

dat – that

de – the

doan – don’t

dun – done

wit – with

aks – ask

N’yorlins – de Who Dat capitol city

Katrina – a hurricane

Hurrikin – a sweet, but potent drink

Mardi Gras – French for ‘fat Tuesdy’, a festival where all de Who Dats have fun

Sanes – de N’yorlins Saints

Dirty Birds – de Atlanta Falcons

Panners – de Carolina Panthers

Tammabay – de Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Blag ‘n’ go – de Saints colors

Subadome – where de Saints play home games

innastay – de highway dat leads to de Subadome

Quarta – where Saints fans celebrate

krunk – extreme excitement and/or fun

synanym – de same as a word

annanym – de opposite of a word

hommanym – a word dat sounds de same

mamanym – your mother and family

Nes year – obsolete term

Next, we will take a look at some different kinds of Who Dats:

Blue Dat – police officer

Boo Dat – ghost

Brew Dat – barrista

Choo Dat – train engineer

Clue Dat – detective

Crew Dat – boat captain

Cue Dat – actor

Do Dat – handyman

Drew Dat – artist

Few Dat – U.S. Marine

Flew Dat – airline pilot

Foo Dat – Asian

Fu Dat – karate instructor

Glue Dat – craftmaker

Grew Dat – farmer

Jew Dat – banker

Moo Dat – cattle rancher

New Dat – bandwagoner

Poo Dat – baby/pet

Pru Dat – defendant

Roo Dat – Australian

Rue Dat – street person

Screw Dat - hooker

Shoe Dat – farrier

Shoo  Dat - exterminator

Slew Dat – assassin

Spew Dat – intoxicated Who Dat

Stew Dat – chef

Sue Dat – attorney

Threw Dat – quarterback

True Dat – witness

Two Dat – twin

View Dat – spectator

Woo Dat – suitor

You Dat – Kim Kardashian, et al

Zoo Dat – caged animal

Finally, I’ll give some common Who Dat phrases accompanied by the appropriate Who Datish response:

“Escuse me, where’s de baa-troom?”

“True dare.”

“What time it is?”

“’Bout dat time.”

“Can I have a room?”

“Sign dat.”

“Is dis what you want?”

“Dats it.” Or “Not dat.”

“Are you ready to go home?”

“F’git dat!”

"How's ya mamanym?"

"Dey fine."

“Who dat?”

“Who dat!” when alone or “We dat!” with a group, Also see “You dat!” above.

“Where y’at?”

“Who dat!”


“Who dat!”

“Are you goin’ to de game?”

“Who dat!”

“Who’s winnin?”

“Who dat!”

“How ‘bout dem Sanes?!”

“Who dat!”

“You wanna nudda beer?”

“Yes, please, thank you very much.”

Well, I hope dis helped all you New Dats out dare and if you need furder assistance, just aks any Who Dat you see. Dey are always polite and ready to help dare neighbor and any fellow Who Dat who needs it.

Welcome to de Who Dat Nation and we’ll see you in de Quarta.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.