ALL SAINTS DAY
(A day, night, and the day after)
No, it's not November 1st, though the true All Saints' Day is observed by many down here. Did you know that burying a statue of St Jude upside down in your backyard will get your house sold 1-2-3 ? Let's hear it for the patron saint of lost causes!
I've never seen so many people wearing black and gold in my life. Granted, the public school system (and some of the private schools, from what I saw at a local playground after school. Nothing like a little girl in a Saints cheerleader dress...) sent out flyers encouraging parents to send their young 'uns to school in the team colors(and, sadly, I spaced on that one, sending my son to school in navy blue), but there were adults on the streets in the colors, too. Local Fox News anchors had the colors on for the 5 o'clock news. There were loads of Saints jerseys of all sizes on people's backs, and all kinds of names, past and present: Brooks, Blake, Bush, McAllister, Horn, Williams...even Manning. The papa.
People began to party in the early hours of the morning on game day, and it didn't stop. We went over to Edie's house to watch the game, and fended off her constant voicing of the idea that we should go down to the Superdome after the game, or head to the Quarter afterwards. She'd already checked out the area around the Dome that morning. We are truly getting to be a bunch of old farts, Dan and I, or just responsible parents, because we begged off, citing my son's bedtime and Dan's need to get to work the next day as our primary reasons. Even as the game edged closer to halftime, Edie finally said that she couldn't go, after saying, "Let's go to the Quarter" one more time.
All I could picture as well was what the Quarter could be like during Mardi Gras or when the Super Bowl was being hosted - one long drunken debacle in which you'd better be on Esplanade Avenue or have called ahead to get a cab, else you will have to walk home in a stupor, alcohol-fueled or otherwise. The only difference would have been in the regalia. The year I was in the Quarter at Super Bowl weekend was when there were loads of Patriots fans and Green Bay cheeseheads walking the streets. Granted, it would have been nice to see all the black and gold in the area after what is arguably the most successful Saints home game in franchise history...but hey, we are now official party poopers, my hubby and I.
Then again, Edie in some ways is one, too, because she and her daughter ate a large amount of their Southwestern dip before we came to watch the show. Is it good etiquette for a party host to serve up a partially eaten dish to her guests? I ask you...
It was weird watching the game on ESPN. No Al Michaels. No John Madden. Just some good analysts, one color man still getting warmed up, and a helluva first game of the season for Monday Night Football to be broadcasting. This is Paul Tagliabue's gift to New Orleans, and I appreciate it immensely, as do other folks around here, including the Benson family, the owners of the team. Tom Benson has always been one of the reasons why the team hasn't done well here in years past...and he blames it on the city's lackluster support of the team, creating one vicious circle that gives everyone an excuse to do nothin'. I'm glad Tagliabue committed to keeping the team here as a symbol of renewal for a ruined city, because without that, Benson would have shipped the Saints outta here once the storm blew through. There was a lot of anti-Benson graffiti on trashed refrigerators and the like down here during the initial cleanup of this city. The jury's still out on him...time will tell.
Now if this town could just get more organizations to commit to conventions again. Not to mention more major industries and businesses to get the economy rolling again.
That's the trouble with the big events this city has. I must say that Poppy Z. Brite's 9-26 journal entry has got it right: see http://docbrite.livejournal.com/ to see her "day after" entry.
We can certainly throw one hell of a party down here, but the hangover is crippling, especially at this time. I highly recommend Brite's Rickey and G-Man novels and stories, and right now, she is having a tough time of it all. Someone who is so adept at taking the pulse of this place and writing as well about it as she does in her recent fiction will feel deeply upset and depressed at what has been going on with it. Check out her Banned Books speech, delivered this past Sunday, on the link above. Telling Brite to "hang in there" just doesn't cut it, in my book...we need more tangible support in the rebuilding process, more results.
Then again, after reading Chris Rose's column in the Times-Pic about game day and night, it was pretty darn good to be in a place that knows how to party, and this city did need this. Human interest pieces during the game could show all the devastated neighborhoods they want, Tony Kornheiser could interview Spike Lee to his heart's content, and every superstar band, celebrity, and politician could show up, and the real star of the show would still be the fans who packed the Dome.
Because, damn it, we're all still here.
Can't get rid of New Orleans that easy...