Bless dem Boys!

It wasn’t about football.

It isn’t about a game.

When so many had doubted the possibility, belittled the successes, and ignored the reality — in that moment, with the whole world watching, our Saints emerged on top. The similarities between that story and our own are so obvious that it shouldn’t be a surprise that yesterday, today, and tomorrow are not because or about or for some sport. What is there not to get?

The scoring drink was New Orleans rum, fresh pineapple juice (yes, Ann Marie juiced a pineapple, do not doubt this woman’s dedication to doing things right), lime, and bitters. Good thing that we decided to celebrate in this way, or else the moments of the game may have been more of a blur — because what a game!

Thanks to the short-cut Emmy had learned earlier in the day from a friendly taxi-driver who was stuck in traffic near her (think: banging on window ‘hey lady, you must take secret road! trust me!’) we made it around traffic, into downtown, and safely within a parking space in record time. Then hoofed it down to Canal.

Which, to the first time in my memory, was completely closed to traffic.

I’ve heard about destruction in celebrating groups; when Virginia Tech won a key basketball game while I was a student there, I remember some car destruction and something about a street light coming down. That sort of thing is what police ready for after big game wins, so I hear.*

This didn’t happen here, at least not last night. And I doubt that it is the sort of thing that locals would do; there are other ways of celebrating.

Like doing the jitterbug.  To hip-hop Saints re-mixes.

But then a dixieland jazz song starts.  And you may need to learn some crunk moves.  Someone in the crowd will teach you.

I know this sounds flip, but I’m really reporting what was happening.  What happens here.  The sort of party our City throws.

Here’s the thing.  In other places, you get up and get dressed or cleaned up or whatever so that you can walk out of your house and go see something, go experience some cultural thing.  In New Orleans, we get up and get dressed and go out of our homes and we ARE that cultural thing.  It happens because we create it.

There is something very satisfying about living here that fulfills a natural and often forgotten part of life in the United States: that we long to have responsibility in making happiness and celebration in our communities.  Purposefully making time and putting energy into merry-making seems very irresponsible in the specter of the American work-ethic.  Energy into something that seems so opposite from work comes across as lazy and extraneous; and over time, I think we forget to really appreciate the beauty of life and the necessity of celebrating a moment.

This correction of priorities is something I learned living abroad.  It wasn’t an easy lesson, either.  It STILL isn’t.  But it is the way of life in New Orleans, and gives us incredible rich experiences that remind us of what life is about and how we truly want each day to be.

And so we went.  Into the Quarter and through the Quarter.

Stopping for high-fives, dancing with strangers, listening to musicians on the street, following bands in a second line.

This picture is silent, but the reality was full of voices and music and joy and laughter.

Here’s a video of a second line that passed us on our way to Frenchman Street.

Most bars and clubs were empty — everyone was out on the street — but we did stop into a few to listen to who was playing inside.  (Including these kids below, who were very good and also seemed very young; I’m officially a woman who says things like, ‘does their Mother know they are out this late?’)

Paul took the pictures above and below.

But like I said, the party was really in the streets.

Eventually, we got back into the Quarter and into Jackson Square — note the quiet below — but Cafe du Monde, right across the street, was filled at 2:30am.  We had to wait for a table and wave down a waitress.  (Worth it; the cafe au lait helped get us the rest of the way to the car.)

How wonderful that we were able to celebrate the Saints with so many — and right here, in New Orleans.

Even if you’re not here, please do celebrate with us!  Here’s the soundtrack.  And here’s something else, something wonderful, to read.  Geaux Saints!  And bless dem boys and New Orleans!

* Something crazy did happen — along Bourbon and Iberville — though I don’t know much more than this report.  We were around that area, at roughly that time, and didn’t see or hear anything alarming.  What a shame that someone had to ruin the night for others and what a blessing it wasn’t any worse.