In looking back upon my life, I have noticed a strange pattern. I have lived in the geographical fan base of successful football franchises much of my adult life. The first time it happened was kind of heartbreaking, living in Syracuse and Rochester (NY) while the Buffalo Bills played in and lost 4 consecutive Super Bowls in the early nineties. At the turn of the century I moved to New England in time to witness the Patriots go to 3 Super Bowls, winning two of them. Now here I am - a new decade, a New Orleans, and at the epicenter of the wildest football scene in the history of the universe. And yes, the Saints victory over the Colts in Super Bowl XLIV has beaten the shit out of every other football experience I have ever had. WHO DAT!!
It is really funny because I am not a football fan, per se. I have watched a handful of Super Bowls and playoff games over the years, but here in the Big Easy there is no way to avoid the Saints mania. This is a city only five years out from being nearly destroyed by Katrina and the Saints seem to represent something beyond sports. They are the Phoenix rising up from the flames, with all the aura and legend of that mythical creature. Even my yoga teacher waxes poetic during class, prophesizing that the Saints' victory is going to end the Hindu Kali Yuga and usher in the Dvapara Yuga. She tells us that we are all about to become beings made of light, and if my quantum calculations are correct she just might be right.
I spent the day out with my new friends who love to Double Dutch and hula hoop. We rode our bikes through traffic jams and dog parades (Barkus) to get to Jackson Square in the early afternoon, where we set up shop and drew a huge crowd around us. The Saints fans (aka all of New Orleans) were all out in their black and gold, some wearing more elaborate costumes. The sun was shining and our little boom box was playing upbeat music and it was all pretty picture perfect, as my perfectly pretty pictures hopefully convey.
For the game I went to a party, with the usual anarchists and artists you find at random parties around New Orleans when you are a freak like me. I sat inside an old warehouse building of some sort on a dingy car seat watching the game projected on a giant bed sheet. The setup would occasionally lose reception and about half way through someone put Saints Radio on instead of the CBS audio, making the famous Super Bowl commercials seem even more surreal. There was no heat and so I went out at half time to warm up by the fire while The Who played and we all secretly wondered if they regretted the lyrics in "My Generation".
The second half of the game was epic, up to the point in the 4th quarter when the Saints made the game's only interception and ran 70 yards to victory, and into history. After all the hugs and victory cries and high fives our posse once again rode out towards the French Quarter, busting out the jump ropes and hula hoops on the corners of Frenchmen and Royal. Once again a jubilant crowd gathered around us, while cars drove by honking and the whole city took to the streets in celebration. Everyone yelling "Who Dat!!" over and over again. All people united by one event, a celebration well deserved by this amazing city. I am blessed to be here, and to be a part of it all.