Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Truly Saintsational

I have tried writing this post a few times, but I am finding it hard to put into words what this weekend in New Orleans was like.  I suppose if you blended Mardi Gras and football together to create this beautiful mix of joy and elation and pride that is what you would get.  From the minute we stepped off the plane on Saturday, it was clear we were entering the Who Dat Nation.  Everywhere you looked people were covered in black and gold.  I have never seen anything like it.  Or felt anything like it either.  The atmosphere in New Orleans was truly electric.  I had no idea what we were in for on Sunday if 24 hours before the game people were this excited.
Me dancing to the Ying Yang Twins, Halftime. "Here we come to get you..."
What a treat it was to be home for this experience.  We had brunch with my family and my roomie from college and her family at Mr. B's in the quarter.  The sounds of the jazz band that wandered from table to table as we nibbled on barbequed shrimp and toasted French bread made me realize that a day like this could only happen in New Orleans.  As we exited the restaurant onto Bourbon Street we were immediately swept away into the crouds of Saints fans dancing and celebrating.  There was not a step you could take for miles that wouldn't be accompanied by music.  Whether it was coming from the DJ at one of the many Bourbon St. nightclubs or the live bands at the jazz bars or simply from a brass band that had congregated in the street, music was everywhere. 

A view of the Second Line parade as we approached the entrance to the Dome.
We met up with the Saints Superfans to once again second line to the Dome, only this time instead of a few thousand fans following behind the band, we were joined by fans as far as the eye could see.  We danced our way to the Dome in such celebratory fashion so uniquely New Orleans that many of the Vikings fans looked on smiling and video taping the makeshift parade.  And that's when the tears started flowing, because I realized this is special.  This only happens here.  And as we made our way into the Dome, I tried to tell myself to stop overthinking this experience and just enjoy each moment. 

A view from our seats as Garret Hartley lined up to make the game winning field goal
After the longest and most agonizing three hours of Saints football I have ever seen, our Superbowl hopes were put on the shoulders of our kicker, Garret Hartley.  In many ways I do not envy the role our dear boys have taken on.  They are carrying the hopes and dreams of an entire region on their shoulders.  After the storm, they took on the burden of being the team that would carry us out of darkness and into the light.  I cannot imagine for one second what the weight of that must feel like.  I tried not to close my eyes as Garret lined up to kick.  I was squeezing Mark's hand so tightly I am surprised it wasn't broken.  And from the second the ball left his foot you could see it was sailing right between the uprights.  In that moment, we knew the Saints were going to the Superbowl.  We jumped up an down, we hugged our neighboring ticketholders, we watched as grown men cried as they hugged their fathers and their sons.  It was truly the greatest experience of my life, aside from my wedding.  I have never felt such joy as I felt Sunday night.

It's good.  The kick is good!  We're going to Miami!!!!!
As we exited the stadium, people were singing and cheering, hugging complete strangers, honking their horns in celebration.  Fireworks were going off near us and off in the distance, and in that moment you knew that the celebration was all around you.  Pure joy is all I can say.

I am so proud to be have been a part of that number when the Saints went marching in!!!


  1. I actually got chills when I read this & I'm not even a Saints fan or really all that into football!

    I will def be cheering for the Saints on Superbowl Sunday!! When I was watching the game, I was thinking of you and wondering what it was like to be there at the game!

  2. Thanks for sharing your experience! I can't imagine what it would have been like to be there! Keith and I are coming down for Mardi Gras, but now we are thinking about coming the weekend before also so that we can be a part of the excitement in New Orleans during the game!

  3. Hello, I just found your blog via Vintage Vogue. You left a comment about The Help which I just finished reading. Isn't it a good book? I couldn't put it down. And so exciting about the Saints. We were watching the game Sunday and it was a great game!

  4. I loved your post! I watched the game and was thrilled that the Saints won!!! Yay :)

  5. I have a picture similar to this !!!! What a feeling that was! I was hyperventilating I was so excited. I was kissing and hugging everyone in my section!

    where do you guys sit? We are in 639, upper!



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