I know we have been reading and talking and hearing about the missed call at the play off game for two straight weeks now. And maybe you will stop reading this article right now because you are sick of it. But I am writing this from the balcony of Ernst cafe in New Orleans on Sunday night - the night of the, NOW, tainted, super Bowl LIII.
As I sit with an eagle eye’s view of even just this section of the city of New Orleans, because I know this celebration spanned further than Fulton street with second lines, parades and parties happening on every corner, I want to share the sheer joy and excitement that I have felt today. We have said it a million times - New Orleans is like no other. But today, we brought it to a whole new level.
Some may say it is petty and some may say it is sour apples but to us, we turned the sour into sweet, sweet victory. Victory for our team, our Saints, our Who Dat nation, our city! You have read about it and, if you are from here or have ever even been here, you have felt it. We ARE a city like no other.
Tonight I am reminded of why I love this city so much and I am reminded of what sets us apart from the others. We took Katrina and we shut out the media and the naysayers that said we could not and would not come back. That Mardi Gras, we danced in the streets and celebrated, together, the return and rebuilding of our city.
That year, we were introduced to a new Saints team that understood what it was to be the underdog and what it took to rise above the reality of overcoming things you can not control and the unfair reality that life sometimes throws at you. That year, a “football team” became more important than any other football team before them and any other football team in the country. That team became a symbol for this city, a release for us, a representation of us, and a heartbeat keeping us going each week.
New Orleans has always been a supportive city, but that year we became The Who Dat nation. When we needed someone to pick us up and give us hope, our boys did that for us. And tonight, the city gave it right back to them!
Some say we will not get over this and I hope we never do! I hope we always remember how we felt that Sunday in the dome when success slipped through our fingers and instead of getting mad, we got petty! And it was amazing for our city. Amazing to see the loyalty, amazing to see the support and amazing to feel that New Orleans energy. I hope we remember what it felt like to turn the sour into sweet and raise our glasses, as a city, to our players and congratulated and celebrated them on an amazing season.
In the crowd tonight, you could not find a sour attitude even if you tried. Tonight was not about being angry. It was about being awesome, being together and being proud of our boys and our city. And, let’s not forget, it was also about costumes, cocktails and dancing in the streets!
I was proud tonight - proud to call New Orleans home. I was proud to, once again, see the loyalty and love that I have never seen from the million dollar cities that bring “so much” to the Super Bowl. I want to thank the NFL for giving New Orleans a platform to, once again, show the country why we are, and always will be, the best city! There is nothing a New Orleanian loves more than getting attention and throwing a party, so thank you for making a boring Super Bowl Sunday, the best pre game to Mardi Gras we have ever had!
In hindsight, maybe it was petty but we had one hell of a petty party and that is more than any other city would have or could have ever done! Bless you boys and Who Dat!