Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Alumni provide safe harbor for fans in NOLA

Megan Smith

Hundreds of Alabama fans and a few out-of-place lovers of the Louisiana State University Tigers gathered at a bar called the Rusty Nail in New Orleans to watch the Crimson Tide overtake LSU and win their 14th national championship.

The bar brands itself as the Crimson Tide’s official bar in New Orleans on game days, and Alabama faithful from all corners of the nation were represented at the bar by kickoff.

“I’m from Maryland, but I just had to watch the game down here,” said Alexandra Constantine. “Southern hospitality brought me down here – it just drew me. I’ve never experienced it before. I would say the trip, its costs, the crowds – it’s all been worth it. This experience is incredible.”

It’s the bar’s gameday experience that brings Alabama fans from across New Orleans and the region, majority owner David Brown said.

“We have people driving from Mobile every weekend to watch games at the Rusty Nail,” Brown said.

The bar offered Alabama fans a safe haven and likeminded peers to watch the game with, and supporters of the Tide flocked to the bar in droves, bearing a $10 cover, a long line at entrance and shoulder-to-shoulder crowding inside the bar.

“We’ve been here for hours,” said Krystal Reid, a native of Ozark, Ala. “The atmosphere, with all the Roll Tide fans, is indescribable. It’s so much better in here.”

Kyle Moore, a rare LSU fan inside the bar, said the experience wasn’t a nightmare for a fan in purple and gold, but he didn’t plan to stay for the entire game.

“I’m just here with my friends, you know, or I’d probably never be here tonight,” Moore said. “It is what it is. I’ve had a good time so far; everyone’s been really nice. I’ll probably leave before the game starts, and win or lose, I’ll definitely be out of here before it’s over.”

Brown and several other alumni founded the bar in 2006, just a year after Hurricane Katrina decimated certain areas of New Orleans. The city’s Warehouse District, largely untouched by the storm, experienced a flood of volunteers and aid workers that made up the Rusty Nail’s early crowd.

About two years later, Brown found a new way to draw in customers – on Saturdays.

“I grew up here, and we never really had a place to go watch Bama games,” Brown said. “So I thought maybe it’d be a good idea to try to get in touch with a bunch of the alums in town and see if they’d want to meet and watch the games.”

Brown said the crowd for Alabama games started out small and doubled year by year, turning the bar into the weekly attraction it is today during college football season.

Mark Johnson, a lifetime fan of the Crimson Tide and native of Wetumpka, Ala., said there was no other place he’d watch the game.

“I can’t even imagine bringing in number fourteen with a better crowd,” Johnson said. “This place, this crowd, this bar, the whole thing just has blown me away, and I’m thrilled to be from Alabama, celebrating our win right here at the Rusty Nail”

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