New Orleans, LA

Many Arsenal supporters groups in North America come together according to plan. 

One or two supporters decide they want to organize a group and they work to bring people together in the cause of The Arsenal.

 But in some cases, a small collection of fans adopt a more laissez-faire attitude and suddenly realize that a significant group has organically grown around them.


Group name: Krewe of Arsenal

Location: New Orleans, Louisiana

Home Pub: Finn McCool's Irish Pub

3701 Banks St. New Orleans

Facebook: Krewe of Arsenal

Twitter: @NOLA_Gooners



Perhaps unsurprisingly, that is what happened in New Orleans.

"A regular group has been coming to Finn McCool's to watch the Gunners for over a decade, with some coming and some going," explains branch manager Omar Khalid.

He says that the size of the group always varied but a small core was ever-present. After a while more and more Arsenal fans began turning out at the pub and someone suggested that they become a part of Arsenal America.

Now, for the big matches that "small core" of fans is joined by more than 100 other supporters.

The party-like atmosphere of the city is behind the name of the branch - the Krewe of Arsenal. "New Orleans is famous for its Mardi Gras, which is celebrated in New Orleans by groups of revelers known as 'krewes.'" Omar says. "With Arsenal football the reason for our party, it just made sense that we call ourselves the Krewe of Arsenal."

"Finn's is a warm, welcoming environment - especially for Gooners," Omar says. "Football is a niche market in New Orleans, but that allows for a lot of fans to be concentrated in Finn's. Most are Gooners, but almost all clubs are represented in the Premier league as well as other clubs around the world."

And he says that is part of what makes taking in a match with the Krewe of Arsenal such a unique experience - that welcoming environment extends to everyone. And as such, whenever any club scores, as he puts it, there is "pandemonium" in the pub - complete with chanting and a lot of friendly banter.

"The bar owner is a Celtic fan," Omar explains. "And he refuses to officially 'endorse' one team for this reason, although he has no problem with us making his bar our home."

Each member of the Krewe of Arsenal has his or her own story as to how they discovered Arsenal –often a unique and personal tale. And most of the time, it comes down to one little thing about the Club that piqued their interest and then fueled the obsession.

In Omar's case it was randomly attending a match at Highbury. Watching the Invincibles put four past Middlesbrough was more than enough to convince him.

Another supporter named Michael first discovered Arsenal through the 1998 World Cup and the play of Patrick Vieira. But it wasn't until 2005 that he really became the obsessed Gooner that he is today. "I really dove in after Hurricane Katrina when I had time to watch a ton of games and read Fever Pitch."

Others in the group mentioned the battling style of play of a Ljungberg or the dreaminess of a Pires or a Giroud.

Whatever that "one thing" was, supporters found their way to Arsenal and the Krewe.

But Omar says there is something else that helps to make the Arsenal experience here so special. "It's New Orleans," he says. "We are just looking for a reason to party so there is no judgment. Especially at Finn's where we are right at home with our fellow Gooners."   

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