Wow, what a difference a year makes. Re-reading today's Katrina Refrigerator post, which is up and ready to read with notes, was a stark contrast to what today brings.
I am not, overall, a football fan. I was when I was younger, but over the years, and being married to a distinctly non-sports fan, I've fallen off the football radar. I know a couple of players' names, and I know who Tom Benson is. I know he made millions off of the people of New Orleans and their relentless "faith" in their Saints even when their faith was misplaced. I know he wanted to move the team to San Antonio after Katrina blew the top off of the Superdome (he has BMW and Mercedes dealerships there as well as here) and I know the NFL wasn't happy about it. Neither were the fans here in New Orleans. It was a slap in the face at a time when no one here needed another slap of any kind.
I am, however, a Saints fan. Not because it's a football team but because they are so much a part of the texture of this city. Watching their homecoming on a huge screen at Margaritaville (a place I wound up in because kids were allowed in) on a big screen with folks wearing black and gold masks and doing shots for every successful Saints defensive play while the whole place screamed with joy was a gift. As the camera panned the faces in the crowd, there were smiles, huge ones. That's not something you see every day here. The city's morale needed that game, and revelled in the total stomping of the Falcons.
Yes there were those, my husband and I included, who had a little discomfort over the fact that so much money had been spent on the Superdome when there's so much more to do here. But last night was important. It allowed people here to feel a semblance of normalcy and joy before they went home to their gutted homes and FEMA trailers. For that alone it was worth it. Here in New Orleans, one takes one's joy where it's found, and last night it was found in the Superdome for a few hours.
As for the Superdome, at one point my husband and I thought the best party of all would be a demolition of that building, which had become a symbol of so much anguish. Put in a bunch of dynamite, set up safe areas from which to watch it blow, and have second lines and barbecue.
Might have made us feel better on some level, but I don't think it could have been as good as the smiles on the fans faces last night.
Local parlance is "Geaux Saints!" They did and the fans followed dancing and whooping and happy.
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