This group of friends that goes waaaaay back with each other gathers each month for a meal and fellowship, either dining out, or at someone's home, and they take turns planning it. In the summer months, they call it "Swim Team" and for their "practice" they go to the lady's house who has a swimming pool and they drink while they float in the pool and maybe they eat something, too. Their Christmas gag gift exchange has taken on legendary status, and despite my pleadings, my Mom wouldn't let me share any of those stories.
Well, for this February, the planner chose Joe Impastato's new place in Madisonville (for those from the area, my folks fondly recall going to Joe's brother's original restaurant in Lacombe, Sal & Judy's, when they were a young married couple), and they ended up out on the back deck. As they were chatting, one of the ladies mentioned that Joe Impastato had a Saints Super Bowl ring and that when she had been dining with another group he graciously let them all try on his Super Bowl ring and take pictures.
Of course, when he came out to ask how their meal was on this day, they asked him if they could try on his ring, and he was happy to oblige, resulting in the above picture, which I'm sure was only one of many taken at the table.
According to this 2006 article from Gambit, Joe Impastato and his restaurants have a deep connection to the Saints...
No restaurant is more closely associated with the Saints, and Impastato's collection of memorabilia, autographed jerseys, game balls and helmets is all the more impressive because the athletes honored by all these displays are frequently in attendance. Saints players often drop in with entourage in tow, and Impastato's is sometimes the venue for Saints team events. The restaurant even alters its hours during football season, opening on Sundays when the Saints are playing at home.
...that goes back over 35 years...
Proprietor Joe Impastato, who also is president of the Saints Hall of Fame in Kenner, opened his restaurant in 1979. One of the first events he hosted was a welcome party for Dick Nolan, who started a three-season stint as Saints head coach that year (yes, I had to Google his name). Thus began an informal relationship with the team that has spanned 27 seasons of Saints football.
Impastato is not only President of the Board of the Saints Hall of Fame, but in 1998 he received the Joe Gemelli Fleur De Lis Award, which is given by the Saints HOF annually to a person who has contributed to the betterment of the New Orleans Saints organization or who has contributed to the New Orleans Saints.
I think I may even have gone to high school with an Impastato relation...Brad (or Bradley) Impastato, for whatever that's worth.
So there it is, the story of my Mom getting to wear a Saints Super Bowl Ring. Have any of you gotten close to a Saints (or any other) Super Bowl ring before? What about dining out in SELA? That can be a fun topic, too. Let's discuss!