Local commerce will temporarily halt for today’s New Orleans Saints game
Posted on Jan 24, 2010 in Local Issues, Sports
One could credit the New Orleans Saints’ unexpectedly successful football season with sending team merchandise sales skyrocketing, canceling a few Carnival parades and inspiring many local musicians to pen celebratory songs. And today the team’s winning season will get credit for one more feat: halting local commerce.
closedsign.jpgDavid Grunfeld/The Times-PicayuneGordon’s in Metairie is closing early today because of the Saints game.”Nobody’s going to stay open and miss that,” said Greg Dombourian, who owns Dombourian Rugs on Magazine Street and is president of the Magazine Street Merchants Association. Instead of closing at 5 p.m., Dombourian Rugs will remain closed all day.
The Magazine Street store will not be alone. Several area retailers and service providers say they will either not open or close early on Sunday in deference to the NFC Championship game.
No orders will be taken at the popular Mid-City eatery Mandina’s Restaurant after 5 p.m. Sunday. The restaurant, which usually closes only on Thanksgiving and Christmas and for mandatory hurricane evacuations, will shut down early this weekend, general manager Martial Voitier said.
“We’re figuring that probably by about 4 p.m. there will be nobody on the streets or in the restaurant,” Voitier said. “They’ll be in the Superdome or in somebody’s house.”
‘No one would be out’
A sign posted on the door of Gordon’s of Metairie alerts customers of the store’s plans to close on Sunday.
“We knew that no one would be out shopping,” said Robyn Soileau, manager of the craft store. “I’ll be at home celebrating with the family.”
Soileau said the 100 employees between Gordon’s two stores in Metairie and Kenner were thrilled to get the day off.
“Everybody was excited and very grateful that they can stay home and watch it,” Soileau said.
Although they won’t get the entire day off, employees at Creole Creamery, which is usually open until 10 p.m. on Sunday, will be able to leave early this weekend. The store, which has a location Uptown and another in Lakeview, will close at 5 p.m., 20 minutes before the game’s scheduled kickoff.
“All of our employees want to see the game,” Creole Creamery Chef Bryan Gilmore said. “If we stay open, by the time the game is over and people filter out we’re going to be about to close anyway.”
Pam Clark, who owns Aesthetics & Antiques, said the slow pace of business during last week’s playoff game convinced her to close this week. Business was so slow, Clark said, that she and other shop owners spent much of their time last Saturday watching the Saints game on the television of a nearby restaurant while standing in the street and keeping an eye on their respective businesses.
“We were open. We partied, but there was no business,” Clark said. “I really thought we’d have more business that day but it seems like everybody was tailgating.”
Gilmore said the slow pace of business during last week’s game was also a factor at Creole Creamery.
“Last week we brought in TV, but there was nobody in here but the employees,” Gilmore said. “When a game comes up like this it’s kind of like a local holiday.”
‘It’s hurting me’
Not everyone will close.
Although he’s expecting business to be slow, Vic Loisel, who co-owns vintage furniture store Neophobia, doesn’t plan to close the shop on Sunday. Loisel said he has no real interest in football and admits that the successful season has disrupted his business.
“It’s hurting me, businesswise. It’s a little frustrating too,” Loisel said.
Meanwhile, Feet First does its most brisk business when people are in a “joyous mood, throwing caution to the wind,” much like they feel before a Saints game. The shoe boutique will operate as usual on Sunday, said Evie Poitevent, the store’s co-owner.
“You want to be open as long as possible to catch all the tourists who will be in town,” Poitevent said. Feet First has locations on Royal Street in the French Quarter and on Magazine Street Uptown.
Some Saints games have provided banner sales for the shoe boutique and the later the game, the better, because potential customers have a full day to shop and are in a joyous mood, Poitevent said. “Given that the game is on Sunday after 5 p.m, we’re expecting it to be really busy.”
Should the Saints win today’s game and earn a spot in the Super Bowl, area business owners and operators say they are already prepared to close again.
Voitier of Mandina’s has had two black and gold signs printed. In the case of a Saints loss, a sign will display the restaurant’s earlier operating hours on game day. But if the home team advances, the sign will read, simply: Closed Super Bowl Sunday.
Jaquetta White can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 504.826.3494.