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Far-flung Saints fans converge on The Greenbrier

Charleston Gazette-Mail photo by Tom Hindman Fans line up at the edge of the practice fields at The Greenbrier resort to get autographs after the New Orleans Saints’ first morning of training camp in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.
Charleston Gazette-Mail photo by Tom Hindman
Fans line up at the edge of the practice fields at The Greenbrier resort to get autographs after the New Orleans Saints’ first morning of training camp in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. — Louis Dunigan drove 18-and-a-half hours, from just north of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to be at The Greenbrier resort on Thursday, in a black Jimmy Graham jersey, for the start of New Orleans Saints training camp.

Standing in a light drizzle, watching the first practice of the 2015 NFL season, Dunigan didn’t seem overly concerned that his jersey was a bit obsolete. (Graham, the star tight end, was traded to Seattle over the winter.) To tell the truth, Dunigan drove all that way to watch practice, but he doesn’t even watch the games.

The real fan, the self-described “nut,” is Sheila Dunigan, Louis’ wife of nearly a half-century.

Louis surprised Sheila with a trip to The Greenbrier last year, the first year the Saints were in West Virginia, to celebrate their wedding anniversary.

But on Sundays in the fall, they go their separate ways. Louis goes duck hunting and Sheila drives the 90 miles from their house to the Superdome, in New Orleans, to watch the Saints.

“And that’s why we’ve been married for 47 years,” she said.

Sheila has two season tickets and goes with different girlfriends to all eight home games.

“Whoever goes with me, I tell them, ‘You can go, but you cannot talk to me during the game. If you do, you cannot come back…

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