METAIRIE, La.-- Hours before the gate opened, Saints fans began gathering outside the team's practice facility with wary eyes on the sky.
"Actually I was a little worried," said Brooks Domangue, who drove in from Chauvin, La. "We've been here for a few hours, waiting for it to slack off."
After waiting for days for a chance to see the Saints practice, fans finally got their wish on Saturday. Hundreds lined up outside the team's facility in Metairie for what turned out to be great weather for the outdoor practice.
"I told my crew because we're out here, I said, 'because we're out here God's going to bless us and the rain going to pass over,' because you've got to have fun," said Charmaine Baker-Fox, with the Israelite Baptist Church in Central City.
Baker-Fox helped bring more than a half-dozen kids from her neighborhood to the Saints practice.
"It's an event for our kids because we try to bring them places, to try and keep them out of trouble," she said. "We're just so grateful the weather has held up, so we'll be able to go in there and cheer our Saints on."
After such a tumultuous offseason, Saints fans said they were ready to move on and the practice helped take their minds off what happened during the past few months.
"We're going to all be over that," said Saints fan Lynn Cochran. "It's a new season. We're starting off fresh."
And out there, everyone had a favorite, from Jimmy Graham to Darren Sproles to Thomas Morstead to Curtis Lofton -- and, of course, Drew Brees.
Fans said the practice gives them the best chance to see their favorite players up close, which is why they are willing to make the trek from across the region.
"We love the Saints -- a chance to maybe get an autograph, see some players that they might not ever get a chance to get this close to," said Jeremiah Cloy, who came with his family from Picayune, MS.
Others traveled a greater distance: Jared Gibson and his family drove seven hours from Lawrenceville, GA, to see the practice.
"It's worth it," Gibson said. "Definitely, definitely."
The team's practice ended at 6:45 p.m. and lasted nearly three hours.