Brandy On New Orleans

Brandy Pigeon

'Til Death Do We Part

By Brandy Pigeon

I read and article today about a girl in Tuscaloosa, Alabama who is getting married this Saturday night; and her "cold feet" have nothing to do with her groom-to-be. It seems when she scheduled her big day many months ago, she planned for everything - the catering, the flowers, the bridesmaids, the cake, the rings...everything. Unfortunately for this particular bride, and dozens more just like her, her big day took a huge blow Christmas night. You see, when the Dallas Cowboys lost to the Philadelphia Eagles on December 25th, the stage was set. As people throughout the Gulf South began second lining around their living rooms, still piled with wrapping paper and toys from that morning's festivities, brides in waiting from Shreveport to Pensacola, watched in disbelief, as their months of meticulous planning and tedious preparations went out the window. That Dallas loss secured the New Orleans Saints playoff berth; and they all knew their weddings just took a back seat to football fever. 

 I certainly wish all of them well, and hope that one day they can be thankful at least they'll have an interesting story to tell their children and grandchildren. That article lead me to thinking; and I realized, the people of New Orleans and the entire Gulf Coast are married to their city and their team. In good times and bad, thick and thin, we just can't seem to separate ourselves from what we've come to love so very much. Just like a spouse, we get mad at them, we cry over them, and just when we begin to think the whole union we've entered into is too much to bear for another moment... lightning strikes and we realize that even breathing becomes more difficult when they're not around. 

Following Katrina, many of us were forced into a trial separation from our cities and our Saints. After the initial shock of what had happened, we all began to contemplate what life would be like if we just got the divorce we'd sometimes thought might be the best thing. After all, New Orleans was full of crime, corrupt politicians, a failing school system, and as we found out... flimsy levees. We'd be better off without the headaches, right? But as the trial separation went from days to weeks many of us became emotionally and sometimes even physically sick. Sick with grief. Like a husband who's lost his hair, or a wife who never lost her 30 pounds of baby weight, or even an aggravating set of in laws, we looked at our battered city and longed to reunite with her.... flaws and all. Like a couple second guessing their split, we saw through the water and the muck, and even the crime and corruption, and decided that somehow the good outweighed the bad. That the only thing to do was work it out, because in some inexplicable way, we knew we were meant to be together.

It's the same story with the Saints. Why do so many of us feel compelled to spend our hard earned time and money on a team that, according to the win/loss columns, has definitely given us the shaft for so long? How many times can we be let down by the same team before we part ways? It goes back to the good outweighing the bad, I suppose. Sure, the lows are really low; but the highs are oh so high, aren't they? Who hasn't caught themselves whistling for no reason lately, and letting people cut in during rush hour traffic, no matter how late you're running, just because they had a fleur de lis bumper sticker on their car? Seasons like this one are worth the lows we've faced so many times in the past. And if we're being completely honest, even those debaucherous seasons brought some joy, didn't they? They give us something to do on Sundays at family dinners. Something to discuss in the off-seasons, and we have all come up with the answers to the Saints' problems at some point in our lives. We're certain we can fix what the coaches and managers can't, aren't we? This season there's been little to address as far as Monday morning quarterbacking goes. It seems they've finally gotten the right recipe for winning... and it couldn't have come at a better time. For the first time in over 18 months, conversations don't all seem to lead back to Katrina and her wake. Now all conversation roads seem to lead to the same topic - "How about dem Saints?" I can hardly imagine how long an NFC Championship or God willing, a Super Bowl title would linger in our conversations. I mean, I am still forced to listen to my Grandparents go on about Hurricane Betsy and that was half century ago. So maybe this Saints season will be one to remember for the ages; and I suppose even if it doesn't end with a Lombardi Trophy, we'll all stick by those invisible binding contracts we've signed, and realize we're married to right city and the right team - and not just for right now; but 'till death do we part.

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