From Ain’ts to Saints- the Soul of New Orleans
A couple of nights ago, I posted a question of my Facebook page asking what people were planning to serve on Super Bowl Sunday. I got a response back from a friend saying, “This is going to come as a shock…but I have never seen a football game. Not in person. Not on television. My husband doesn't watch football. I bet he doesn't know the teams who are playing. I know- un-American.”
Many probably do think it is un-American, no doubt, but a shock? Not exactly. I myself have always said Super Bowl is the perfect day to go out to a restaurant (they’re empty and quiet), and have never known before what teams are playing.
But this year’s Super Bowl is about way more than football. The Saint’s have become the symbol and metaphor for the city of New Orleans, and its journey to recovery.
Although the Super Bowl has been held many times in New Orleans, the Saints have never played in the Bowl. Now, this team made up of rejects, and often referred to in the past as the Aint’s, whose fans could be seen wearing paper bags over their heads at games, will be competing for the NFL championship. They have are now being referred to as “The Soul of New Orleans.”
Wright Thompson of ESPN.com writes “They are a motley group, undrafted guys and late-round fliers, players cast off from other teams. (Drew) Brees landed in town after an injury convinced the Chargers that his best days were behind him. ‘When we came here,’ he has said, ‘I was in the process of rebuilding, as well.’”
Fr. Tony Ricard of Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church, says as he finishes saying Mass in a Saints jersey, “the Saints have lifted the spirits of the whole city.”
Even President Obama has cautiously weighed in saying, "You know, I think both teams are terrific. I guess I am rooting a little bit for the Saints as the underdog, partly just because when I think about what's happened in New Orleans over the last several years and how much that team means to them. You know, I'm pretty sympathetic."
It’s an understatement to say the city is overflowing with civic pride, and all of us expatriates here in Los Angeles, will be glued to our television sets, as well. So next Sunday, my brothers, my uncle, my cousins and yes, even I, who has barely seen a football game in my life, will gather to celebrate my mother’s (a NOLA expatriate of over 50 years) birthday and to cheer on the Saints.
We’ll be eating jambalaya, shrimp po’boys, potato salad, and red beans and rice- thanking God for Mother, and cheering on our Saints.
So, I have two things to say- 1) don't rain on our parade, and 2) what will you be serving?
Click on this link to hear Wright Thompson talk about "The Soul of New Orleans" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ugV6gcXGPwk