Football, I really enjoy watching and New Orleans is my dear city. Close to my heart and beautiful. Football is back in New Orleans. In fact it is back at the Super Dome. The dreaded site of bodies, babies, rapes, murders and waste. All of it a human waste. The Super Dome saw some of the worst we had to offer as a country and by far the worst New Orleans had to suffer through after the storm. Its re-opening is just the opposite. A celebration of life and a celebration of that dear city.
The Saints, formerly known as the 'aints, for their poor performance season after season, will never be known that way again. They have sold out tickets for the rest of this season, something they have never done. Impossible to imagine given the size of that stadium and the relatively few people that have remained or returned to New Orleans this past year. A true testament to the fact that they are the 'aints no more.
I had been to the Super Dome only three times. Twice to graduate; BA and JD and once to a Tulane football home game. Clearly the building is more than just an enormous football stadium, it is a huge representation of all to come. I lived in New Orleans for seven years. That is my city. When I graduated and was set to move back to Florida the next morning, my friend, a New Orleans native, paid me a wonderful compliment, and told me I was, "A true New Orleans lady". Nothing stood out more to me than those words. It warmed my heart. This was one year before Katrina, another New Orleans lady. A lady that ruined the city. It seemed like it's glory had been lost. The only info I have are the news updates and reports from friends. Sadly, I cannot comment since, I have not been back since the storm. I feel awful guilt about it, Jewish guilt, it is the worst kind. I had a plane ticket and reservations for February, pre-Mardi Gras, but there was a death in the family and the trip was cancelled. I have since re-booked and plan to ring in the New Year there. There is nothing I can do undo the past so I just look forward to the future trip and know how meaningful it will be to me.
To so many New Orleans was just a steamy hot bed of alcohol and beads. Known for food and music. All of that is true, 150% true. But it is so much more. It is daiquiris on the fly watching the ships go by. It is sushi at Rock 'n Sake in the Warehouse district followed by Gallery Hopping. It is one afternoon of manicures at Belladonna's, coffee and internet searching at Rue de La Course, shopping at Hemline and beer at the Bulldog, all on one block of Magazine Street. There was the CC's in Mid-City, tree lined and cozy and the one uptown filled with students and laptops. Exercising in Audubon Park with the cyclists, runners, babies and thai chi classes. The rambling mansions on St. Charles, Whole Food goodies, Dos Jefes cigar bar. Funny words, Tchopitoulas, Po-boys and Domilises that connotate good times, good people and good places. It is live local music every night of the week at the Maple Leaf, Le Bon Ton and Tips. The juiciest hamburgers at Port of Call, all night grilled cheese sandwiches at Camilla Grill and the addictive bread sticks at Reginnellis. Fine dining was abundant from the Brennan's restaurants and the famous chefs they trained, Emeril and Paul Prudhomee (the originator of the dirty martini). It was the smaller joints that stood out the most, Jacqu-imo's, Dick and Jenny's, Clancy's and 210. Food rules the town but drinks and music are never far behind. There is a cultural feeling and vibe in the city.
One I hope is not lost and one I know will always remain. Louisianans are known for being loyal to their state. It is said that the uniqueness of it all makes it impossible to leave. This creates ties to the city that will help it grow, from it's own people. I hope to see this when I return in December. It has also made me wish to return there, permanently. Magoo and I have discussed it. This is something we will look into when we are there. This is one New Orleans lady that is Proud to call it Home and that 'aint so bad.
I grew up in NOLA, haven't been back since before Katrina and its heartbreaking to watch the struggle.