For These Saints Fans, Tailgates Are More Than a Beer-Fueled Pregame

Tailgate Together supports the unhoused community each time the New Orleans Saints take the field.

Tailgate Together New Orleans Saints group
Allen and Clarissa Keller | Photo by Giancarlo D'Agostaro for Thrillist
Allen and Clarissa Keller | Photo by Giancarlo D'Agostaro for Thrillist

New Orleans is known for taking its parties to a whole new level—and that’s true of the boisterous parking lot celebrations each time the New Orleans Saints take the home field as well. But while crowd-pleasing bites and free-flowing drinks are tailgating staples, one group has been putting all that aside and instead using football season to make a real difference in the community.

Tailgate Together, a grassroots operation run by Louisiana native Allen Keller, has been supporting the unhoused community around the Caesars Superdome since 2017. It all started when Keller—who works for The Sulzer Group, a local consulting firm that provides disaster recovery support—began regularly tailgating for Saints games with friends. They’d often end up with extra food, so they decided to donate it to unhoused people at the nearby Claiborne Avenue bridge.

Allen Keller Tailgate Together
Photo by Giancarlo D'Agostaro for Thrillist

Eventually, the thought of giving leftovers didn’t feel right to him, so he started preparing a separate, fresh meal for those in need each time his crew would get together before kickoff.

Now, with the help of private donors and a handful of volunteers, the initiative continues to grow and even expand beyond food, with followers donating clothing, accessories, and blankets for Keller and the Tailgate Together team to give away on Sundays.

“We've had over 100 volunteers that pop in and out, donating their labor,” Keller says. “That’s why I always shy away from recognition because it's never about me. It's a group effort and the focus is on the work.”

Tailgate Together New Orleans
Photo by Giancarlo D'Agostaro for Thrillist

Tailgate Together’s efforts now take place year-round and include a bi-weekly outing to feed and clothe the unhoused community in New Orleans. Firehouse Subs donates 100 sandwiches for each outing, and Keller and his team also collect clothes, shoes, blankets, supplies, and monetary donations to help those in need.

Always quick to deflect and redirect praise, he applauds regular volunteers Katherine Seals and Stanley Reed, along with his wife, Clarissa, who he calls “the brains behind everything.” But more help is always encouraged, he says.

“My brain never stops thinking about how we can expand and reach more people,” Keller says.

Katherine Seals, Allen Keller, Clarissa Keller of Tailgate Together
Katherine Seals, Allen Keller, and Clarissa Keller | Photo by Giancarlo D'Agostaro for Thrillist

On the Saints’ home game days, Tailgate Together can be found under the overpass near the New Orleans Mission on Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. Check out Keller’s X account for the latest information on outings to get involved. If you can’t make it to a tailgate but are still interested in supporting Tailgate Together, you can reach out to Keller or make donations via Tailgate Together’s wishlist.

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Eric Grossman is a Thrillist contributor.