Who Dat Nation mourns loss of Saints 'super fan'

Published: Feb. 20, 2014 at 12:52 AM CST
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METAIRIE, LA (WVUE) - He stood in Champions Square nearly every football Sunday, proudly waving a black and gold flag.

So many knew super fan "Saints Fett," modeled after the bounty hunter in Star Wars. But many also knew him as Larry Jehle Jr., a 30-year-old from Metairie.

"I always said that Larry was like Clark Kent and Superman," says friend Gary Breaux. "He was very mild-mannered when he was out of costume - a very polite, generous person, and he'd just turn into this completely other persona when he put that costume on."

Jehle died Tuesday. He had battled leukemia as a child, and though he beat the cancer, it ravaged his heart.

But his family says Jehle never focused on his illness. Instead, he donned his costume to cheer on the Saints or visit Children's Hospital, even in his final months.

Jehle was also part of the 501st Legion, a costuming club that raises money for children's charities. Jehle told his family that meeting people, posing for pictures and giving hugs was like medicine.

"Putting that outfit on made him feel normal and that he had he had a normal life," says his sister, Lindy Giambroni. "Being able to give back to people, because that's what he was about was to give back to people, and not expect anything in return."

Jehle rarely went inside the Superdome because he couldn't afford tickets to the games. But another super fan, Chef Who Dat, invited him in one time. That week, Jehle tried out another persona.

"I knew him as Captain Who Dat Nation but he also was Saints Fett," says Walter Blakesley. "And I just had one super fan persona, so for a guy to have two of them, that takes a lot of dedication and a lot of fan spirit."

Even when was so sick, Jehle kept cheering. He recorded a video while in the hospital saying, "Saints Fett may be out of action right now, but in time he will return to help take on another season to help our boys win the next Super Bowl. Who Dat to everybody."

It's the man behind the mask that so many will miss.

"I don't think we realized how many people he touched," says Giambroni. "Just to know that that was my brother that did that just makes you feel so good and so proud of him."

Jehle will be laid to rest Saturday. Services will be held at Leitz-Eagan Funeral Home at 4747 Veterans Boulevard in Metairie. Visitation is from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., followed by a Mass.

There will be a blood drive in Jehle's memory March 22 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. It will be held at the Metairie Blood Center at 2617 Edenborn Avenue.

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