Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sweetest of Dreams

I just can't let this Saintly feeling of celebration go, and after all, I can be a girly-girl when the moment strikes.

This photo strikes that "awwww" moment full in the gut.

If this isn't one of the cutest things I've ever seen -- our cold, calculating coach, Sean Payton, is just a little boy in a grown-up coach suit who needs his shiny Lombardi "woobie" (and his potato chips!) before he'll take a nap.


Saturday, February 27, 2010

Random Saturday Musings

(1) How long does it take for rigor mortis to set in anyway?!?

(2) With no disrespect for the suffering of the Chilean, Japanese, and Haitian peoples intended, my husband and I tried this morning to end-run the Global Warmingists who are certain to insist that the recent uptick in plate tectonics is a consequence of "Climate Change" (da-da-DUNHHHH!!! *cue: scary music*). He beat them to the punch with this theory:

Earthquakes are being caused by the increased pressure on the plate boundaries resulting from the water-weight of melting polar ice caps and glaciers.

Hey -- water-weight is a component of PMS eruptions, so, why not?

Someone will posit this theorem -- just you wait!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Few More Pics

That's Drew Brees on the float. He was Da Man in parades this year! And that's Moogie and Pepper in Dat Number -- I've never really mastered the "self-portrait" technique.
I've said it before and I'll say it again (see previous post) -- what a ride!!!

Time Stood Still, Then Hit the Re-set Button

Where to begin? This could take awhile . . . .

Super Bowl Sunday!

The two Carnival parades scheduled to roll on the Uptown route bumped up their start time by a few hours so everyone could get home in time to tune in. Marching bands and parade riders were decked out in black and gold, fleurs de lis were ubiquitous -- the anticipation was electric. Businesses shut down -- even our Rouse's supermarket sent everyone home by 6:00 so employees could watch THE Game with friends and family.

We headed out to the watch party about 4:00, passing several impromptu walking parades, all shouting "Who Dat!!" and blaring "When the Saints Come Marching In" -- not to mention "Halftime (Get Down and Get Crunk)."

We watched the game at our friend, Aaron's, penthouse in the Warehouse District -- pretty ritzy digs with two gigantic flatscreens in the living area -- neither blocking the pool table.

Aaron has a really nice and really cute, but really young, girlfriend who hadn't done much in the way of party preparation, so we were glad that I had (with Aaron's blessing and encouragement) engaged in what I have come to call "self-defensive cooking." I have a lot of food allergies and sensitivities (I mean, really, who else is allergic to beef, for crying out loud!), plus the recent fun-fun-fun diabetes diagnosis, so there is often little I can eat at small gatherings. Self-defensive cooking can be a pain in the rear, but it provides sustenance for me and, in this case, about 20 other folks! My pork tenderloin with Creole sauce on Parkerhouse rolls was a hit, if I do say so myself. And I do. (As my Great-Aunt Tynkie used to say, "He who tooteth not his own horn gets tooted not.")

The shot of the Crescent City Connection bridge was taken from the wraparound balcony ("balcony" seems such an inadequate word -- how about "outdoor suite?"). I couldn't make myself sit down -- paced the entire game to help the Saints advance the ball, or stop the Colts. As a matter of fact, I was still pacing on the balcony when the second half began, so I missed the onsides kick-off. I did get back in time to see the end of that "scrum," though, and to sense the turning of the tide. What a call!

The atmosphere got lighter and lighter. The plays got better and better. Peyton Manning threw the winning "pass" to our Tracy Porter who scampered down the field for the touchdown that sealed the deal. The clock ticked down to Zero -- and the City That Care Forgot exploded!

We forced ourselves to stay inside and watch while Deuce McAllister presented the Lombardi Trophy to Sean Payton -- such a little kid to be such a big, bad football coach! -- and to see precious Drew Brees hoist his grinning son into the air and be named MVP, then we all floated out onto the balcony to shoot off fireworks (along with thousands of others across the City -- the skies were mottled with sparkling pockets of pyrotechnics) and to toast the Bless You Boys with "Who Dat Champagne!"

I trust Aaron has good fire insurance. It didn't occur to me to worry about it at the time.

Then we set off on foot on the 1.42 mile trek to the French Quarter. Along with countless other folks. Countless, yes, but a good estimate would put scores of thousands out there -- and every single one of them is now my new best friend! I hugged and high-fived more strangers than I could ever possibly imagine -- including a couple of policemen -- and haven't come down with any strange new diseases yet. Just a chronic case of Saints Fever.

We're a couple of decades older than most of Aaron's guests (especially his girlfriend!), so we left the Quarter earlier than they did so we could head home to liberate the dogs and watch the ongoing celebration on local tv. By the time we started back to the Warehouse District to pick up leftovers and the car, the police had shut down and barricaded Canal Street to accommodate the swelling, jubilant crowd who wanted to be in Dat Number. Swarms of fans were still heading toward the Quarter! I stayed up until 2:00 in the morning watching the delirious throng in disbelief -- the 'Aints had actually won the Superbowl.

I slept well, but not long.

On Monday, I joined Shay's fiance and his grandmothers -- all of us decked out in Saints finery -- for lunch and took him to the airport to catch a plane home. Having stood in line for hours with thousands of his newest best friends at Academy Sports so he could be among the first to acquire Super Bowl Champion goodies, Tim was pretty tired, and we were doubtful that he'd even be able to make it home since Little Rock had been struck by an unexpected blizzard that shut down the city and gave Super Bowl revelers a bonus "snow day." But, we ate and re-played the game over and over at a really good Po boy shop, shaking our heads every now and then as the reality of the victory began to sink in. En route to the airport, we passed the team buses heading back to the Saints' practice facility on Airline Drive! Thirty thousand had shown up to welcome them home, including Tim's Aunt Patty.

On Monday night, we ate leftover pork tenderloin with Creole sauce. Who could cook!

Then came Tuesday -- the Saints Super Beauxl Victory Parade!

Bear in mind that there would have been a parade regardless of the game's outcome, but it might not have been of that magnitude had the score been flipped in the Colts' favor. And the scale of this parade, thrown together in just a couple of days, was nothing short of freakin' un-be-lieveable.

Entergy released its employees to go home (or to stay and watch) at 2:00 since its building sits right on the route, so we decided that I'd ride the streetcar downtown to meet Pepper, who would just stay at work until parade time at 5:00. I planned to leave early to try to avoid the crowds, so I locked the house and arrived at the stop at 2:00-ish and managed to get on a streetcar pretty quickly. A jam-packed streetcar. A streetcar that turned out to be the next-to-last car to run before they shut them down! Everyone was carrying posters and wearing Saints-emblazoned gear and smiling smiles so big you wondered whether their faces might permanently freeze that way. Everyone talked to everyone else -- there were no strangers on that streetcar, we were all family.

When I ride the streetcar down to join Pepper for Hornets games at the Arena, I get off at the Girod Street stop and walk the 5 or 6 blocks to the Entergy Building, so, of course, that was the plan of action that day.


The driver stopped just short of Emeril's Delmonico and announced, "End of the line!" So, even though a little taken aback, off we trooped, "Who Dat-tin'" down the neutral ground. It was a beautiful, sunny -- quite nippy -- day, perfect for the mile or so stroll to Pepper's office.

When I got to Lee Circle, I figured out that this wasn't going to be any regular ol' parade. Lee Circle was already gridlocked at 2:30! People were sitting in camp chairs or standing 5 or 6 deep! I barely managed to get across to Carondelet to wend my way to Girod.

I passed a man sitting on the steps in front of a one-story office building and commented on the crowds. He said he had been waiting for a taxi to get home for half an hour -- I told him that probably wasn't going to happen since Lee Circle was already impassable by car, and wished him luck. He said, "Damn. Go Saints!"

I seriously almost didn't make it across Loyola, the street where the parade would roll several hours hence, and once across, I had to go through the parking garage to access the building. Security was a little overwhelmed, to say the least.

Once in Pepper's office, I took in the whole scene. On the Super Dome side, I watched as the floats -- loaned to the City by several of the Carnival krewes -- were being lined up and loaded, shepherded by a fleet of blue-light-flashing vehicles. On the Loyola Street side, I saw tents where people had camped out overnight to secure a spot in history. I saw traffic at the Camp and O'Keefe Street exits of the Ponchartrain Expressway backed up for miles, two full hours before the parade was scheduled to roll! I saw people dancing in the streets and celebrating, heedless of the encroaching cold, and loving their fellow citizens of the Who Dat Nation. "Thank You!" banners fluttered from parking decks, fleur-de-lis flags proudly flew atop high-rise buildings. Helicopters buzzed over the parade route and zipped through passages among the buildings -- even a Black Hawk! The joy was literally palpable and contagious-- even 22 stories up.

When we went down to the street as the parade began to roll, we couldn't get any closer than 50 people deep to the street, but, that's okay with me, cause I'm an edge-of-the-crowd kind of gal, even though I'm also a short kind of gal. So, my pictures aren't too good, but they are sharp and indelible in my mind -- I wish you could see them as I do.

A fighter jet flyover and the newly-elected Mayor passed by -- then came The SAINTS! Pepper actually managed to snag a string of beads flung from the Budweiser wagon! And the roar of the crowds was deafening -- for hours! 800,000 souls had made their way into the City for the canonization of their team. What a ride!!!

And then it was Wednesday. And it sleeted in New Orleans. Hell had indeed frozen over.

We all stood a little taller; we all held our heads a little higher. And, from that moment on, time will be measured a little differently. We can now move past The Storm. Time in New Orleans will not be measured in increments since Katrina -- it will date from that Magic Moment when the Saints rewarded the faithful with the Lombardi Trophy. We're back.

Next up -- a Most Magical Mardi Gras.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Have I mentioned Magic lately?

Just a quick thought before I hit the road for a solo road trip with the blind-and-deaf shih tzu for Elder Daughter's bridal shower:

There's something really magical about a city that throws a Super Bowl Victory celebration, a Super Bowl Welcome Home parade, and Mardi Gras within a week and a half!

Where else would you see a smiling lady firefighter backing up her big ol' truck to maneuver her way amid a throng of revelers to the end of the Oshun parade, all while wearing a black and gold feather boa to celebrate the Saints' Super Beauxl victory?

And where else would Reggie Bush nimbly hop off the Orpheus float during a delay caused by a break-down up the line so he could trot up and down the barriers on St. Charles, holding out the actual Lombardi Trophy so parade revelers could touch it and share the spoils of victory?

I'm thinking not in Indianapolis.

Sorry. It had to be said at some point.

Some great pics to come in a few days! Including one of Moogie masking as a bee. Yep. A bee.


Monday, February 15, 2010

Moogie's Carnival Hiatus!

Elder Daughter advises that I should do an "On Temporary Carnival Hiatus" post.

Consider it done.

(It may take me forever to recuperate from Super Bowl, Saints Welcome Home parade, Younger Daughter's engagement, Carnival parades 1 block up, and Mardi Gras! I'll try to do it all justice soon -- and pics to come!)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Black and Gold Super Beauxl!!!

GEAUX SAINTS!!!!!!!!!!!!! Who Dat! Ain't no ponies gonna beat dem Saints!!
It's Game Day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Magic Shines On!

That "more to come" magic that I promised yesterday? It happened!

Baby Girl #2 is engaged and wearing her great-grandmother's ring! Nick totally surprised her -- and there was a party waiting in the wings with friends and family (except her lonely parents stuck in another state!) and cake and a banner and Bud Lite Lime! She didn't even care that the house was messy!

I must say that we seem to have done pretty well in the child-in-law department. I understand from those who were not so lucky that doing well in that department is truly a good thing.

So, here we are on Black and Gold Super Beauxl Sunday with another wedding on the way. I can already hear the bank account groaning. But we're smiling!

There must be pigs soaring above the glaciers that have overtaken hell! Two engaged daughters, the Saints are playing in the Super Bowl, and New Orleans elected a white mayor yesterday.

Who'd have thunk it.


Saturday, February 6, 2010

A Magical Day in New Orleans

Today is the second day of Carnival parades on the Uptown route, the day after my Big Girl's birthday (the last of her 20s, I might add -- she's "aged" well!), the day before the Black and Gold Super "Beauxl," and election day in New Orleans.

This is the day we get to prepare to bid adieu to our "colorful" Mayor, C. Ray Nagin.

Soon he will be C. Ray Nay-gone!

See ya, C. Ray!

And there's more to come . . . stay tuned.

A rather magical day, n'cest pas?

Monday, February 1, 2010

Buddy's Brawds Celebrate Saints in the Super Bowl

Buddy Diliberto was a Purple Heart Korean War veteran, a correspondent for The Stars and Stripes, and a New Orleans sportscasting icon. It was a mournful day, that January day in 2005, when Buddy unexpectedly left New Orleans to take up residence in the big arena in the sky.

Buddy had that "Yat" accent from "da Parish," and loved the Saints like no one else. He was also their sharpest, most outspoken critic, often from the broadcasting booth.

He was the guy who came up with the less-than-flattering team nickname, "the Ain'ts," and was among the first to sport the famous paper bag with eyeholes over his head to depict "the embarrassed fan." One season, out of pure frustration with the Saints' dismal performance, he declared that if the Saints ever made it to the Super Bowl, he'd don a dress, march to the Quarter, and sashay down Bourbon Street.

Yesterday, with the blessing of Buddy's family, and the assistance of Bobby Hebert (the "Cajun Cannon") who quarterbacked the Saints and succeeded Buddy at the microphone, thousands of men (plus a number of women and a few Elvises!) made good on that promise with the "Buddy D Dress Parade!"

They left, en masse, from the Superdome and headed toward the Quarter. Some marched in a precision dance team group, some pranced as "Buddy and Bobby's Brawds." Some just second-lined toward the Quarter, gleefully pumping black-and-gold umbrellas into the air, and shouting, "Who Dat! Who Dat! Who Dat sayin' dey gonna beat dem Saints!"

Men in dresses marching through New Orleans. You're smirking, you say? After all, it is New Orleans where Southern Decadence takes over Labor Day weekend.

Heh. These were mostly straight guys, helped with the intricacies of their costumes by wives, girlfriends, and daughters! Guys who had a little trouble keeping pace while wearing those spiked and stacked heels. Guys who learned how chilly one can get when wearing pantyhose instead of slacks on a breezy day. (Parading gay guys in New Orleans already know all that stuff and accept that, often, one must sacrifice comfort in order to accommodate fashion.)

Not that Buddy's Brawds were exactly "fashionable!"

But they were joyous and happy and ready for Super Saints Sunday.

They were also a little tipsy.

That may continue for the rest of the week, through the Saints Welcome Home parade next week!

Who Dat!!!

(Check out pics and videos here. More available here, but there are a couple of ads for a lawyer on this one.)
Check out a fellow Who Datter's excellent post at Our Little World! It reprints a very "educational" letter in today's Times-Picayune.