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New Orleans Is On a Tear

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; New Orleans If there's been one moment that epitomizes the New Orleans Saints' football season, it came last Sunday afternoon outside the nation's capital. With under two minutes to play and a seven-point lead, the Washington Redskins drove deep into ...

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Old 12-11-2009, 11:25 PM   #1
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New Orleans

If there's been one moment that epitomizes the New Orleans Saints' football season, it came last Sunday afternoon outside the nation's capital. With under two minutes to play and a seven-point lead, the Washington Redskins drove deep into New Orleans' territory and set up for a chip shot field goal to put the game on ice.

It seemed certain the Saints' 11-game winning streak was about to come to an end. But in a stunning turn of events, the Redskins' kicker pushed the ball wide right. The Saints marched down he length of the field in less than a minute to tie the game and then prevail in overtime.

It's been that kind of year for New Orleans. Call it skill. Call it luck. Call it destiny. After their improbable escape in Washington, Saints' quarterback Drew Brees proffered this: "Maybe it's our time that we start catching some of the breaks and start being the team that wins them like this in the end." His words have resonance for his city as well.

The Saints and I came into the world at around the same time in the 1960s, and over the ensuing four decades it's been a rocky affair. The team didn't have a winning season in its first 20 years, won only two playoff games in the next 20, and has never made it to the Super Bowl. Like any group of penitents, long-suffering Saints fans can recite the catalogue of woes that have befallen the team, a pigskin version of the Stations of the Cross. Rarely have so many rooted for so long for so little.

Yet when it looked like the team would leave New Orleans for good in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the citizenry was bereft. Faced with a still-fooded metropolis, the city nevertheless made the Saints return a top priority. Eventually, with a firm nudge from the NFL front office, owner Tom Benson agreed to bring the franchise home. A year later, when the Saints defeated the Atlanta Falcons in their inaugural home game after Katrina, big fat men, both on the field and off, held each other and wept.

The Saints' arrival in a refurbished Superdome in the fall of 2006 marked a symbolic resurrection for the team and the city. Since then an unmistakable halo of optimism has hovered over both. The city's population has rebounded to about three-fourths of its pre-storm level. And after decades of losing its best and brightest to the wider world, the city's brain drain has become a brain gain. Dedicated 20 and 30-somethings from around the country are showing up in force, in part to aid with the still ongoing rebuilding effort, but drawn also because New Orleans, in its post-Katrina incarnation, has become something of a testing lab for new ideas.

In the battered Ninth Ward, hot young architects work with groups such as Brad Pitt's Make It Right Foundation to build ecofriendly housing. Teach For America and other organizations have taken over large swaths of the derelict school system, helping push it to the forefront of America's charter-school movement. Tax incentives and an arts-friendly environment have turned the city into a Hollywood hub, with more than 40 films shot in New Orleans in the past two years. Recently, TV auteur David Simon began filming his upcoming HBO series "Treme" around town, a show focusing on the lives of New Orleans musicians after Katrina.

On the field, the Saints have made a similar transformation. General Manager Mickey Loomis and Coach Sean Payton have stocked the team with a mix of high draft picks, savvy veterans and late-round gems. Some top performers, including leading rushers Pierre Thomas and Mike Bell, weren't drafted at all. But the biggest reclamation project was Drew Brees. Coming off a career-threatening shoulder injury, Mr. Brees was passed over by both the San Diego Chargers and the Miami Dolphins, before signing with the Saints in early 2006.

During Mr. Brees's recruiting visit, Mr. Payton took him to the city's hardest hit areas to emphasize that as quarterback of the Saints his duties would extend beyond calling plays on the field. Mr. Brees embraced the role with gusto. Eschewing the suburban gated communities usually favored by millionaire athletes, he and his wife Brittany bought an old house in the heart of the city, where their neighbors are fond of dropping by with baked goods they've made for them. The Brees Dream Foundation has pumped millions into local causes, including a charter school in their neighborhood.

As the Saints' signal caller, Mr. Brees has passed for more yards and touchdowns than any other quarterback in the league over the past three years; and yet, in a position dominated by towering fireballers, he barely scrapes six feet in his cleats. He directs the most prolific offense in the NFL, yet none of his receivers rank in the top 30 in receptions and 10 different Saints have caught touchdown passes this year. Mr. Brees likes to spread the wealth on the field and off.

It's an odd pairing in a way, this team and this town. Football is a brute game, strictly regimented, born on cold, northern fields and associated with big-shouldered cities like Chicago and Pittsburgh.

By contrast, New Orleans is a warm and dreamy place, birthplace of jazz, lover of good food, and afternoon naps, America's most feminine city. Perhaps it's appropriate that the Saints' symbol, the fleur-de-lis, is a flower. It's love all the same, a devotion so intense that thousands of screaming fans turn out on Sundays to wildly cheer the team—and that's just at the airport after an away game.

Like many love affairs, this one may end in tears. But for now the Saints have the city believing, in the team and in itself. Perfection is a difficult standard to maintain, but even if they fall short these Saints have shown New Orleans what it means to dwell, for a time at least, in a state of grace.

Mr. McCollam is a writer living in New Orleans.

Douglas McCollam: New Orleans Is On a Tear - WSJ.com

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Old 12-12-2009, 12:32 AM   #2
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Re: New Orleans Is On a Tear

"fat men"
"feminine city"

This guy looking for an ass kicking?
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Old 12-12-2009, 08:11 AM   #3
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Re: New Orleans Is On a Tear

Originally Posted by Euphoria View Post
"fat men"
"feminine city"

This guy looking for an ass kicking?
Agree'd... i just DON'T understand where they get this B/S or why they (week in & week out) gotta run at there mouth's about ~DUMB ****~???
Makes NO sence, NO sence at all, just a bunch of HATER's... There's NO other way to put it, BOTTOM LINE!!!

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Old 12-12-2009, 08:16 AM   #4
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Re: New Orleans Is On a Tear

Originally Posted by QBREES9 View Post
After their improbable escape in Washington, Saints' quarterback Drew Brees proffered this: "Maybe it's our time that we start catching some of the breaks and start being the team that wins them like this in the end."
Good read...Last Sunday as I watched the game with my brother who is a Redskins fan, I couldn't help but think that this would be our 1st loss. Most other times my brother would root for the Saints...he has witnessed 1st hand every year the intensity in which I root on the Saints and then...the eventual let down...But not today...the "Skins" are his team! My brother was happy as it looked like his team would win and I was happy for him....NOT happy that the Saints were looking at their 1st loss...just happy for him, he is my brother. Then the "strip" and TD by Meachum...missed FG....Sellers fumble... My brother yelled "What the F***...ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!(among other things)....it sounded so familiar....THAT was me year after year. After the game I told my brother good game...and couldn't help but say...you know Steve, these are usually the things that happen to the Saints. Call it destiny, carma, luck...I don't care, it's nice to win like this instead of losing like that. This is OUR YEAR!
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Old 12-12-2009, 08:47 AM   #5
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Re: New Orleans Is On a Tear

Originally Posted by CTSwampDog View Post
Call it destiny, carma, luck...I don't care, it's nice to win like this instead of losing like that. This is OUR YEAR!
Cannot agree with you more call it what you will but what a wonderful time to be a Saint Fan
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