This past weekend I had the pleasure and honor of interviewing Erick Engelhardt, the creator and founder of both the New Orleans Saints Fan Club and the Big Easy Mafia Facebook page.
Erick, 41, has been a fan of the New Orleans Saints and of LSU his entire life. Erick lives in a smaller city, Slidell, just 20 minutes outside of the infamous New Orleans, Louisiana. Along with his wife and two daughters, Erick’s family supports everything Louisiana related. It’s all they know and appreciate.
About the Big Easy Mafia Facebook Page: it’s not only an avenue for passionate Saints fans to express their interest in the team, but also is an amazing overall group. The Big Easy Mafia is widely known for their expressive Saints residents but the website also greatly contributes to the community. They raise profits and awareness for various charities. As amazing as it is to be a representative of the Saints, it’s even more amazing to do a great thing for someone else.
Big Easy Mafia is also greeted by Saints Super Fans from time to time who help participate in various charities. The main charity Big Easy Mafia raises profits and awareness for is “Angels Place out of Metairie“.
I can’t personally commend Erick Engelhardt and Big Easy Mafia enough for their charitable acts. Overall, Big Easy Mafia is a great group of people.
Tyler: What inspired you to create the Big Easy Mafia Facebook group/website?
Erick: I felt The Who Dat Nation needed to have an organized “fan club” where they could actually join and feel like they belong to an actual club. The Saints are one of the only NFL teams that do not have an official fan club. So I took it upon myself to give the fans one.
Tyler: What do you love most about the group/website, and what it has become?
Erick: I love the fact that it has turned into an avenue where Saints fans can actually meet each other in person at the various events we have. I also am honored that all the “Official Saints Superfans” are a part of the club and participate in all the events we host. Most importantly I love the fact that this has opened up so many opportunities to help with charities. Our main charity is Angels Place out of Metairie. But we also are involved with Jarrius Robertson’s charity “It Takes Lives to Save Lives”. We are also involved with childhood cancer, breast cancer, and autism awareness.
Tyler: Did you ever think to expect that the Big Easy Mafia would become so large and renown?
Erick: Absolutely not, I had no idea it would have turned out to be what it is now. I was sitting on my sofa one night in January 2014. I came up with the idea and name in my head originally just for a Facebook group/page. Once I saw the positive response it had, I created and designed the website. It continued to grow and really and the Who Dat Nation really took a liking to it and the entire fan club concept. I am honored and humbled that is turned out to be such a success.
Tyler: What is your story, Erick? Tell me about yourself?
Erick: I am 41, born in Baptist Hospital in New Orleans which is no longer there. I lived in New Orleans for a few years then my family moved to a smaller city called Slidell about 20 min outside New Orleans. I still currently live there. I am married with 2 daughters. I work for AT&T during the day and Big Easy Mafia at night. I have been a Saints and LSU fan my entire life, it’s the only teams I know to love. I guess it’s because my entire family feels the same way.
Tyler: What is your favorite Saints related memory in your lifetime?
Erick: The all time best memory has got to be sitting in the dome playing the Vikings when Garett Hartley kicked the field goal that took us to the Super Bowl. The dome went crazy, people were hugging each other, crying tears of joy, it was absolutely an incredible experience. The other experience that was similar to that was the game against the Falcons after Hurricane Katrina. Every fan both Saints and Falcons were just so excited, passionate, towards each other. It was a feeling that just can’t ever be replicated.
Tyler: How has being a New Orleans Saints fan impacted your life?
Erick: Being a Saints fan has impacted my life in a very special way. It has given me the opportunity to actually make a difference in the community. Being a Saints fan has also allowed me to make an impact on real people. When the fan club has an event or when we attend a charity event, It puts smiles on a child’s face. For that brief moment, the sick child forgets about their illness and is enjoying the festivities. That make this entire thing worthwhile.
Tyler: Is there anything you want to tell The Who Dat Nation, and the world about being a fan of the New Orleans Saints?
Erick: I want to invite all Die-Hard Saints fans to join the premier Saints fan club. It’s totally free to join and you will have the opportunity to meet some amazing people and help people that are truly in need and that appreciate everything you do for them. — The link to join the fan club is www.WhoDatFanClub.com
My Final Comments:
I’d like to personally thank Erick for taking the time to answer the questions I asked him. I’d like to personally now recognize now the amazingness Erick and the Big Easy Mafia are accomplishing through the Saints and New Orleans community.
I personally spoke with Erick, and let me just say this, Erick’s drive, perseverance, and passion for doing great things in life is something I’m personally glad I was able to witness through talking with him. When Erick first created the Big Easy Mafia page he could have stopped at the bare minimum at giving Saints fans an outlet for expressing their team passionately, but he went far above and beyond.
Erick not only used his websites to reach out to local charities, and organizations, but is inspiring others, other Saints fans and local New Orleans natives to dig deep and give back in their own ways. What Erick is doing is phenomenal, profound, obviously words can’t describe how amazing this is getting to know someone who gives back so much to his local communities and charities.
For those of you who don’t know, I recently wrote an article about Saints fans, and what makes the New Orleans Saints, the organization, and the fanbase so amazing. People like Erick are amazing examples of the statements I made in that article. People as phenomenal as Erick are only reinforcement.
If you read this article and only get one tidbit of information from it, have it be this. Erick Engelhardt is one amazing example of what generosity, giving back, and truly being a Saint looks like. I recommend everyone to personally give back to their local communities, and truly make an impact in this world like Erick is right now on his websites, and groups.