The New Orleans Saints have amassed plenty of fans over the years. The cast of super fans range from Elvis impersonators to wild clowns donning Saints paraphernalia. This one fan in particular stands out, after spending some time with him last week. Not many may be familiar with the name Paul Scheppf, but the outfit resembling an Air Force pilot with “Da Boom” nickname has done some great work within the community. Also, his love for the New Orleans Saints is second to none. Here is the interview with Paul Scheppf “Da Boom.”
Dean Mullen: Tell me a little about yourself and your background. Obviously, you’re a Super fan and part of the Big Easy Mafia.
Da Boom: I grew up in Louisiana born and raised. After school, I went into the Air Force. I was an flight refueler on the KC135. Our motto was we “fuel the flight.” They called us boom operators. That was our job. That’s kind of where the “Boom” came from. Give the team the fuel, energy and motivation to win. So I was known as the Boom in the military. I got hurt though and had several spinal surgeries. I was unsure of what came next. I did police work up in Wisconsin for four years. After being up there and being a Saints fan, I wanted to move back. I put my name on the waiting list to get season tickets at that time.
DM: So how did you end up getting back to New Orleans?
DB: Well circumstances changed and I got a job in Tennessee doing law enforcement and had another spinal surgery. The doctor at the time said ‘I can’t give any logical reason why you’re even walking. Your career in law enforcement is over.’ After that last surgery and being a disabled veteran, I started to look at all my options. I ended up at the VA, where they helped me go back to school. Going back was daunting for sure, but the social work degree definitely became my calling. I started working with homeless veterans. In 2012, I moved back home near Alexandria, LA.
DM: So how did “Da Boom” idea come about?
DB: I always looked up to the super fans since I was a kid. It always brought a smile to my face to see people light up around them. So, I decided I wanted to do that. Being in law enforcement — I had this desire to want to help people and children especially.
DM: Tell me more about your desire to work in the community?
DB: I saw something on TV, how the super fans did charity work. It fit right up my alley. It brought the Saints and charities together. So, the idea got me started to think about something unique — defined who I was. I still had my original helmet. I bought a black jump suit and got a bunch of Saints patched on Ebay. The rest is history...
DM: Any charities in particular you’d like to mention who you’ve worked with in the past?
DB: I’ve done a lot of stuff through the Big Easy Mafia. We hooked up with Angel’s Place, St. Judes Hospital, and Children’s Hospital in New Orleans. Back in July, the Washington Football Team’s contact through their own super fans. They got in touch with me about a special Saints fan at St. Jude’s Hospital up there. I put together a care package with a Drew Brees jersey and a little video with John Stinchcomb and Lance Moore.
DM: Let’s switch gears and go to football now. What’s your take on the Saints this year?
DB: Well, they do have a history of slow starts. I know the Drew Brees era is coming to a close unfortunately. I hope they can do it this year. The only down side is the lack of fans. The fans do so much.
DM: What’s it like watching from the TV screen at home versus being there in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome? It must feel odd not being there.
DB: It does. It’s depressing really. You feel like you’re supposed to be there. My wife thinks I’m crazy, but I keep saying the fans are a part of the team. When the fans aren’t there, the Saints are missing their best player in my opinion. It’s surreal to see the Dome empty without any fans. You feel like you’re letting them down, even though you have no control over it.
DM: Do you feel by next season we’ll be somewhat back to normal?
DB: I hope so. I sure hope so. They really need to get the fans back. Hopefully, they will find a vaccine by then. The Saints getting fans back would get a sense of normalcy. The Saints have always been a beacon of hope. When times are tough and division in the community, the Saints are able to bridge the divide.
DM: It’s been a great pleasure to talk with you and I appreciate all the time today
DB: Sure thing