Thursday, May 21, 2009

"Yippee! Love, Dan" was what the card on the flowers said. I told Dan I loved it when I called him to check on his retrieval of our son from the babysitters' last night, and then I conked out. An anniversary dinner celebrated at a New Orleans Wine and Food Experience dinner will do that to you.

I'd never been to Broussard's before, though I'd walked by it many times and seen the picture of Gennifer Flowers in the window, along with the dates of her performances at the restaurant. They have a beautiful courtyard, a noisy dining room right off the street, and some of the strangest tiles of cherubs (uhhh, putti, pardon me) clad only in aprons and toques dancing around the walls of their foyer. It was there that I drank six-seven glasses of wine, some of it made from cloned grapes, enjoyed some conversation with my husband of eight years and some good, good food, and observed a fellow at the table next to ours taking iPhone pictures of the labels on each wine bottle the waiters used to refill each glass for each course of the meal.

"Beats collecting the corks or soaking the labels off, eh?" I said to him in my increasingly drunken state. He agreed, and we chatted for a bit. He was a Jefferson Parish policeman, and when he heard where we lived in New Orleans, he said, "Oooh, y'all be careful!"

Lovely. Just what I needed to hear.

"You know the crime is gonna be a biggie as far as the Super Bowl is concerned, right?" I said to Dan.

"Oh, we got the Super Bowl?"
"Yeah, for 2013," I said.

Sure, it's a good thing for this city. It always is when the NFL decides to put what has become more than just a game right here in our midst. Especially now.

Oh, hell, I'm not being ungrateful. If it weren't for Paul Tagliabue insisting on the Superdome being spiffed up and shined to a high gloss of sorts in time for the first Monday Night Football of the 2006-2007 season, Tom Benson would have moved the team to San Antonio, most likely. No Saints, no purpose for the Dome other than scrounging for more exhibitions, more Mardi Gras balls, more NCAA championship games and bowl games. Then the way is a tad more rocky for New Orleans hosting future Super Bowls. Tagliabue helped make it a smoother road right from almost the very start after the events of 8-29-05.

Detours on that road to Super Bowl hosting, however, have included other conventions taking a pass on New Orleans as their host due to the ever-popular urine in the education pool Louisiana Science Education Act Bobby Jindal signed into law and to the ever-present horrific specter of violent crime that is still rearing its ugly head. For the NFL to give this city its vote of confidence in hosting its biggest event is indeed a boost in many ways. We still run on tourism down here. There hasn't been much going on in the way of diversifying the local economy. But the fact that our population is growing much faster than anybody had predicted it would nearly four years ago - and that that population is supporting the home team in so, so many ways - are also big factors in having this event come back here for a tenth time in its history. We are the pros. We can do this, despite all that has happened to us. I'm sure there will once again be calls for New Orleans to host it every year.

This town has four years in which to address the problems that could cause all of this good fortune to come crashing down around us. I hope we take that time and use it wisely.

I will certainly raise a glass to that.

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