(WBTV) - Just one day before the Carolina Panthers take on the New Orleans Saints for the third time this season, hundreds of fans poured into the Big Easy to start celebrating early.
"I mean we have based our lives around this team. It is all we do. Every Sunday we are at the stadium. Everything I own is Panther blue," said Christian Simmons, a Panthers fan. "The team knows that there is no more next week. Today is the day. You win or you go home and they get that."
The French Quarter and Bourbon Street were mostly filled with black and gold, but as the day progressed, it was not difficult to spot the Panther blue or to hear the "keep pounding" cheer.
"Never missed a home game, never missed a playoff game. Never missed a Super Bowl that we have played in," said Tom Simmons. "I think the team has done some things a lot of people thought we couldn't do. "
The Panthers season has been one with a lot of outside noise, whether it was losing their general manager right before camp, the NFL protests, issues with comments made by Cam Newton or most-recently the announcement that Jerry Richardson would sell the team. That announcement came after a scathing Sports Illustrated report that detailed workplace misconduct.
"I think that is one of the joys of being a Panther's fan. It never ends. You always have something to struggle with," said Panther's fan Benny Sheally. "Third time is the charm. We actually went into a little voodoo store to try and help us get a competitive edge."
Fans that were enjoying the party on Bourbon Street also were enthused that Head Coach Ron Rivera got a two-year extension.
"I like Ron a lot and his gutsy play calling, Riverboat Ron. We are in the right city for River boating so let's make something happen," said Simmons.
A large Panthers tailgate is scheduled Sunday afternoon about four blocks from the Super Dome.