Friday, February 12, 2010

Game Day Stories from New Orleans

In a house full of lifelong New Orleans Saints fans, last Sunday was a pretty exciting day. Like many members of the Who Dat Nation scattered all over the country, we wished we were in New Orleans when the final seconds of the clock ticked down Sunday night. To celebrate vicariously through my New Orleans friends, I asked two ladies to share their stories here. Many thanks to Alyson Smith (school teacher extraordinaire) and Evelyn Cathey (owner of Creations Galore).

Welcome Alyson! Where did you watch the game?

I watched the game in my home with the family - Donna Johnson spent the weekend with us and was here, too.

What did you do after the game?

Donna and I watched a few minutes of the postgame show then went as quickly as possible to Gretna to Academy Sports and Outdoors. Our neighborhood was lively - fireworks, airhorns, people in the streets hugging and dancing around - but it was nothing compared to Carol Sue Blvd. When we turned onto Carol Sue, there appeared to be a crowd waiting for a parade. The closer we got to the crowd, we saw they were not only on the sides of the road - they were IN the road. WE were the parade. Donna and I did as the cars ahead of us and rolled down the window, honked the horn, and slapped "five" to the revelers in the streets. It was unbelievable.

We made it to Academy to find the parking lot quite full. We parked near the Casey Jones grocery store and got in line. After about an hour in line, we made it to the corner of the building. When we made the left turn to what we thought would be a short line to an open door, we found a queue line instead. It was like being in line for Space Mountain at Disney World.

The parking lot, however, was a mini-parade in itself and quite entertaining. Young and old alike were in their cars with music blaring (mostly "Stand up and get Crunk"). It was a fantastic sight! I can't adequately describe the euphoria of the crowd. "I can't believe it!" We finally did it!" and more "Who Dat" that you can imagine. I've only been a New Orleanian with Saints Fever for nine years; seeing these lifelong fans living a dream is almost indescribable. It was enough to make you forget about the extremely cold temperatures that were causing frostbite in your toes.

What is your favorite memory of this week?

My favorite memory will be the Super Bowl Parade on Tuseday, February 9th. Several friends from school all packed up after an early dismissal and rode the Algiers ferry over to the East Bank. We chose a spot on Convention Center Blvd. across from the Hilton. It wasn't crowded at all, so our whole gang took up the curb space on the corner of the Harrah's parking garage. After a 5:00 start, the parade finally reached us about 7:00. We were so close to the players, it was unreal. Even though we were very near the end of the route, the team seemed to be eager and fresh. They were still throwing beads and signing autographs. Drew Brees' float stopped in front of us for a full five minutes. It was awesome!

The kids at school have also been in a frenzy all week. I've managed to pull lessons from the newspaper, internet, and even from the pictures I took at the parade, etc. just to keep kids' interest and keep them working this week.

My family thinks I'm crazy to have been out until midnight just to get T-shirts and to enjoy a parade, but I can't imagine being any place else. The Saints may win more Super Bowls, but there will never be another first one. I sure wish you could've been here!

Me too, Alyson. It sounds crazy and wonderful!

Welcome Evelyn! Where did you watch the game?
My husband, Sonny, and I watched the game at the American Stage Theater at the WWII Museum. It was an experience since the projection TV was the size of the stage, more than lifelike. We had a tasty meal at John Besh's Restaurant and Bar located inside the museum.
What did you do after the game?
We left hurriedly on foot with the throngs of others with our destination Bourbon Street in mind. We found a taxi, jumped in for a quick ride to Rampart. We worked out way to Bourbon via Conti, with a short stop at the Bombay Club, one of my old haunts. Said hello to some friends and off to Bourbon, so we thought. The crowd was backing towards us on Conti, but we finally made it into the crowds of happy, tearful, gleaming Who Dat fans! Joy was everywhere. Beads were flying from balconies, folks singing, cheering the Who Dat chant everywhere. The Quarter was a wonderful, friendly, Who Dat sea of folks just trying to absorb that we were really World Champs!!
What is your favorite memory of this week?
As for my favorite memory, there were so many...the Saints winning, sharing the win with friends and those I did not know. The Quarter is a unique melting pot and I will always remember being there when the Saints became World Champs!
It sounds amazing, Evelyn. Thanks for sharing your story!