*The White House was in complete Who Dat mode Monday morning as President Obama welcomed the Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints to the traditional congratulatory ceremony. [Scroll down to watch video.]
The Marine Band was on hand to play New Orleans jazz selections, including “When the Saints Go Marching In” for the team’s procession into the East Room ceremony along with team owner Tom Benson and head coach Sean Payton.
President Obama began his speech naming fans of the team who are members of his administration, including EPA administrator Lisa Jackson and Craig Fugate, FEMA administrator.
“It’s a rare thing when a sports team carries a city through tough times,” said President Obama, citing the 2005 Hurricane Katrina disaster that devastated the city. “These are all big guys with big hearts.”
In addition to Saints fan Lisa Jackson, Louisiana natives James Carville and Mary Matalin (pictured below), Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) were also on hand.
Below, White House Chef Sam Kass, left, and members of the Saints (from second from left, center Nick Leckey, kicker Garrett Hartley, tackle Zach Strief and defensive end Bobby McCary) pass out samples of Gulf Shrimp skewers to members of the media in the briefing room.
Before the ceremony, the Saints held a “Let’s Move-PLAY 60” Football clinic with D.C. area children. Below, the president greets them during the East Room ceremony.
Immediately after the ceremony, the team was invited to see the president leave on Marine One.
After they left the White House, the Saints players and staff visited troops and their families at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
Watch the ceremony below.