A Saintly sauce: Former Saints WR visits Natchez to promote BBQ sauce

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Brandi Guice takes a picture of Cynthia Woodyear with former New Orleans wide receiver Joe Horn Monday at the Walmart Supercenter in Natchez. (Ben Hillyer \ The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — Natchez resident Mike Pennington is a New Orleans Saints fanatic who remembers when he got the call seven years ago that he was approved to be a season-ticket holder.

“I called the man right back and snatched them up,” Pennington said.

So when Pennington learned that former Saints Hall of Fame wide receiver Joe Horn would be in town Monday promoting his new barbecue sauce “Bayou 87,” Pennington made sure to be there for a taste test.

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“It tastes good,” Pennington said. “It’s the best.”

Horn visited Walmart in both Natchez and Vidalia and mingled with Saints fans and barbecue lovers. He said he’s been doing barbecue mixes for almost eight years before deciding to market his sauce.

“I wanted to decide how to come back to New Orleans,” Horn said. “I thought about it one night and said, ‘You know what, I’m going to give them some of my food and see if my barbecue sauce will pass over.”

Lazonda McDuffie, a Natchez resident and Saints fan, also said she enjoyed Horn’s Bayou 87 mix.

“I tried the spicy mix, and it’s real tasty,” McDuffie said. “It has a nice flavor.”

Horn said for every bottle sold, a portion goes to charity. Through Walmart, he’s raising money for the Mississippi Association of the Deaf.

“That’s the fun thing about doing it,” Horn said.

Horn also said he enjoys getting to meet people who root for the Saints and watched him play during his career in New Orleans.

“I get to come out, kiss the kids and meet the fans who really love me,” Horn said. “I could have hired a marketing team to come out and taste-test my sauce, but I wanted to be out in the public and show people why I came out with my own recipe and my own company.”

McDuffie said she remembers watching Horn as a Saint from 2000 to 2006 and was always impressed with his skills as a football player.

“He had a lot of talent,” McDuffie said. “He was very inspiring.”

For Pennington, his best memory of Horn was during a 2003 game against the New York Giants. Horn took a cell phone out from under the goal posts and pretended to make a phone call after scoring a touchdown. The incident drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and later a fine, but Pennington said it was a great memory nonetheless.

“He called his mama,” Pennington joked. “Fans would yell out, ‘Blow your horn,’ (when he scored).”

The Saints opened with a tough 40-32 loss at home against the Washington Redskins Sunday, but Horn said he still has a positive outlook on the 2012 season.

“The Saints’ offense has been the same,” Horn said. “That offense, to me, will give you 30 points every Sunday. The defense has been a little slow. Even when they won a Super Bowl, the defense had some great games, but the offense carried the team.

“I was excited that the offense was still scoring points. Every week, a team will have to come in and score 30 points to beat the Saints. They know that, so if the defense can come and give the offense a little bit of help, the Saints will still win 10 games regardless.”

When Horn learned last Friday that Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma and other former Saints had their suspensions from the bounty incident vacated, he said the appeals panel made the right call.

“Anytime you have power and you misuse your power, it can come back and bite you,” Horn said of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who originally leveled the suspensions.

“That’s what I think happened with the commissioner. He came with a lot of fines and levied them on a team for what he called a bounty, and he couldn’t really come out and prove that point. When the panel wanted to hear his reasons why he fined these guys, he didn’t have enough obviously for them to (uphold) the suspensions.”