Search This Blog

Friday, February 05, 2010

Who (Dat) Cares?

New Orleans and I have a complicated relationship. I have been there probably 50 times in my life, and I still can't go there without getting lost. Who designs a city like a crescent? Cities are supposed to be round! One time I got so lost in New Orleans, I ended up driving over a wooden wharf over a canal in a swamp and came out in the only place in the city where you can bury people underground--because most of New Orleans is way under sea level.

That's right, the geniuses who built New Orleans decided to not only build their city along the atypical shape of the river, they decided to build it in a place that should (without the man made levees) be covered in several feet of water.

Did I mention how dirty the city is? There is trash everywhere, if you walk down any street in downtown you will see perverse pictures taped to every wall, and the crime rate is one of the worst in the country.

I won't even bring up Mardi Gras, when the world essentially takes a dump all over the Southeastern part of our state.

Speaking of our state, New Orleans hogs all the attention, so most people don't even realize there is more than one city in Louisiana. So there.

Let's talk about the Saints. When I was a kid I liked the Saints. These were the days when the Saints' fans wore paper bags over their heads because the team was so bad. The Saints had a few decent years where they had a lot of potential. They squandered this and choked in the playoffs any time they actually made it that far, and people started calling them the Aints because they aint good. Get it? At some point I decided that the Saints weren't worth my time. I have no loyalty to the city of New Orleans. I live in Baton Rouge, where we have a college football team that has won three National Championships, two in the last decade, one when I was a student there. Obviously I care way more about the LSU Tigers than the New Orleans Saints.

Now that all the negative stuff has been said...

I want New Orleans to win.

Not just the New Orleans Saints.

The whole city.

Before Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans was already having a bad time--political corruption, and in some areas extreme poverty rivaling anything else in the country. Katrina was an extreme insult to injury, and it not only dealt the city a devastating blow--it showed the world just how bad things were for many in New Orleans (especially economically) in the first place.

I worked disaster relief after Katrina, listened to a lot of crying people, and (gasp) cried a little bit myself.

My family and most other families in the area housed displaced friends and family for months, even years after Katrina--some people are still here in the Baton Rouge area. Because it's been nearly five years people assume the city is back in tip-top shape. I can tell you it most definitely is not.

The people of New Orleans deserve better. They have been let down by their leaders, their country, and on a smaller but no less symbolic level, they have been let down by their sports teams. Well, that time is over. The Saints have brought a little sheen back, even more if they win this Sunday. I can't pretend I have a personal connection to the New Orleans Saints because I don't. I don't have a right to fly Who Dat flags from my car. When the Saints' kicker knocked the winning field goal through the uprights to get the Saints to the Super Bowl, my reaction wasn't even a tenth as strong as to The Bluegrass Miracle. I didn't even stand up. I just said "Wow, I can't believe he made it." My father, brother, and I just sat still in disbelief.

Despite this, I really want the Saints to win. Though it doesn't mean much to me, there are so many people it does mean a lot to. I wish our lovable neighbors 60 miles down I-10 a wonderful victory this Sunday.

Go Saints.

No comments: