Oyster, Ashley, Lee de Fleur (aka Dilly) and Berto, pre-game (courtesy LatinTeacher)
I'm still on the high from the game. I bawled my eyes out, and I still do. I've been a waterworks for the past 3 days, and finally, it's not from the desperate throes of depression.
We are the best fans in sport. We are the loudest stadium in the cosmos. Nobody comes into our house without a beatdown. And U2 and Green Day just rocked the house.
Monday night was beautiful, man.
When I saw all my brothers and sisters (and seesters) in that crowd Monday, I knew we were back. Not just the Saints back in NOLA, back in the dome.
The city was going to come back.
An entire group 69,503 people (Atlanta got 500 tickets) that you don't have to explain New Orleans to. A group of people that get po-boys, that get second lines, that get Carnival, that get red beans and rice with sausage on a Monday night, that get lagniappe, that get "gimme an amber", that will call you honey and darlin', that know home depot like the back of their hand, that can hang drywall in their sleep, that can recommend the best mask for dust and the best mask for stink-mold, that can tell you where to get your flat fixed, that think both gravy and mayo on a sandwich is a good thing, that party Saturday night and go to church Sunday morning and leave the service in time for kickoff, that go to Vaughn's on Thursday nights, that know the game wasn't rigged, that think we are going to the playoffs, that believe that Buddy D and Vera and Sam Mills were watching from up above and toasting the return of our Saints to their rightful home.
It ain't over until you hug the ushers on your way out of the dome.
It ain't over until you fire up the big ass cuban cigar.
It ain't over until your ears quit ringing (Tuesday at about 3:30 in the afternoon).
This is not a sports blog, this is a New Orleans blog. I care about 2 things: my family and my city, and last weekend I was looking at real estate in the Chicago metro area, because my love for the former makes me consider leaving the latter. It would be so much easier for me to live there. I wouldn't have to worry about school districts or mold or my outrageous power bills or my depression or the cracks in my walls or evacuation routes or day care or doctors moving away or universities closing departments or hospitals shutting down or random bullets.
But then, I wouldn't have to worry about living in a city with a soul, either.
I have to go through da East every day. I used to live there as a kid in the 60s. It's toast. It will come back, but it's gonna take a long time.
But it will.
But we will come back.
We are New Orleans. The Saints are our face to the world. We are champions. Our soul is indomitable.
Who dat, indeed.