BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Saints fans in the Capital City feel a mix of emotions following New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton’s retirement.

“I don’t think any player back then, or coach knew what we quite actually knew what we were getting into. It’s the truth. So, thank you city of New Orleans,” said Payton.

Payton is leaving the Black and Gold after 16 years.

“Sean Payton, thank you so much. Thank you for making the games so memorable and all the trips to the city,” said Jamarques Smith, Saints fan.

The Saints and Coach Payton are more than just football for the people in Louisiana. Payton led the Saints to a Super Bowl win after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.

Fans, like Governor John Bel Edwards, said it’s his influence on the residents that means so much.

“When you look at all of the problems they had to overcome. With serious injuries, Covid, and all the people starting who weren’t even on the roster. To be contingent for a playoff spot. Truth is, this is one of the best performances he turned in,” said Edwards.

Now the fans are looking forward to a new era after Payton and Drew Brees.

“I didn’t think he would leave, but I could see why, it was a really hard year,” said Rob Martin, Saints fan.

“I was really disappointed. It’s bittersweet,” said Robert Campbell, Saints fan. “I think he is the best play-caller in the NFL. I hope he enjoys his retirement, but we sure are going to miss him. I’m really anxious to see who we hire, what the quarterback situation looks like.”