The Times-Picayune visited Kiln before the game...and so did we...
Kiln is a small, dispersed kinds of crossroads town just across the border from Louisiana out in the great pine woods that surrounds the Stennis Space Center. I'd heard about the place since I was child, obviously, growing up near Green Bay as I did. Numerous people in college even thought I was from Kiln initially when I introduced myself as hailing from Kiel. It was a bittersweet feeling as we pulled into town and saw the #4 on the sign. I was making the pilgrimage - making it a little too late, now that the man I once rooted for every Sunday is Public Enemy #1.
We pulled off at the White Lightning Car Wash to snap a shot as the sun sank down. We then proceeded on, looking for The Broke Spoke, the famed biker bar shrine to Brett Favre. We didn't find it right away. The main drag of Kiln is a patchwork of restaurants, stores, and small Hancock County buildings interspersed with woods and a few homes. We were out of it before we knew it, so we turned back. A number of buildings along the way sported Saints or Vikings paraphernalia - it was clear the town was torn between it's hometown boy and it's traditional regional football favorite.
Arriving back at the second of the major crossroad junctions, we saw the tail end of the unveiling of a new mural on the side wall of Dolly's gas station that pays homage to Favre - caution tape blocked off the new work of art, which replaced a piece done up in Packers colors and symbols. A crew of Vikings fans, horns on, drank in the parking lot while a few Saints fans, "Finish Strong" on their shirts, wandered around.
Then we headed over to The Broke Spoke, kitty corner across the road.
It was like entering a defiled Packers Shrine - the trappings of hundreds of pilgrims left behind, nailed, carved, markered into the plywood walls, hanging from the ceiling. There were hardly any Jets items to be found. And the crew was a little more Vikings in its apparel than Saints. But you could tell there were some Who Dats - or conflicted former Who Dats - in the crowd.
Tomorrow's big game was clearly on everybody's mind.
We also ostensibly met Brett Favre's aunt, who was very nice. She said she didn't think Brett had ever even been to The Broke Spoke, which surprised all of us.
However...Brett Favre's "uncle" also helped us navigate a near parking-in in the parking lot as we departed. Perhaps they were legit - it is a small town. But it almost seemed as if regular patrons might have been playing a joke on the out of towners...hard to say. I can say that most of the license plates out in the parking lot were from Mississippi - there were far fewer tourists in the place than I would have guessed. There was also the man we called "the shaman" - a bearded character in furs with a wooden staff who went around pounding his stick at the feet of people in Saints garb.
A very interesting place.