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saintfan 12-17-2009 12:37 PM

Saints the Soul of America's City
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Sorry if this is posted somewhere already. Everyone here should read this.

NEW ORLEANS -- The soul of New Orleans is in a trumpet and a low-ceilinged bar. It's in the free red beans in the back. It's in the art hanging near the food that has two dogs howling at a New Orleans Saints moon. It's in the voice of Kermit Ruffins, two hours into his standing Thursday night gig at a packed club hidden in the neighborhood behind the French Quarter, the place weathered and peeling like the side of a workingman's boat.

He plays a song he wrote, "All I Want for Christmas Is the Saints in the Super Bowl," and the crowd dances and sings all the words. When he takes a break, he calls me in closer. There's something he wants to show me. He undoes his thin black tie, and the top two buttons, then pulls both his collared shirt and T-shirt down just enough so I can see. I notice the top point first, and slowly, the entire tattoo comes into view, a month old, enormous, covering his entire chest. I start laughing, and so does he. A symbol of the city adorned with a symbol of the city. Kermit Ruffins has gotten an enormous fleur-de-lis, the Saints' helmet logo, tattooed on his chest.

"Only in New Orleans," he says, winking. "I'm killing 'em when I take off my shirt at the beach. Especially at the Super Bowl."

NFL: New Orleans Saints are the soul of America's City - ESPN

saintfan 12-17-2009 12:45 PM

Re: Saints the Soul of America's City
Seriously, read this people. The following snippet brought me to tears:

The respect that heals

The soul of the city is in a football game three seasons ago, the return to the Superdome, on a Monday night when those of us who love New Orleans first realized the city would be back. It was Sept. 25, 2006 -- Payton's and Brees' first home game.

The Friday night before, Payton gathered his team in the empty stadium. People had died there, just 13 months before. The bodies were stored in a catering freezer. The building seemed unfixable, and now the Saints stood at midfield. On the video board, Payton played a movie about the hurricane. It showed it all, the dark, dark water, the archipelago of rooftops, the fear on the faces of an abandoned city, the slow pan of the Humanity Street sign barely visible above the current. It showed the Superdome with its roof almost torn off. It showed a city that looked as if it would never return. Then the video ended. The players, standing at the center of a rebuilt stadium, all shiny and new, talked about what they had seen and how important they were to the people who would fill these seats the next night.

They understood.

The fans came early. Green Day and U2 performed before the game, performed an old Scottish punk song "The Saints Are Coming," then segued into "Beautiful Day." Bono changed the first verse, calling out neighborhoods, from Lakeview to the Lower 9th, singing "coming home to New Orleans." With each familiar reference, the crowd reaction intensified, going from simmer to full, rolling boil.

The game began and, less than two minutes in, the Saints blocked a punt and recovered for a touchdown. One of my best friends, a chef who grew up in the city, sat on his couch in Mississippi and wept. So did thousands of people in the Dome. For 37 seconds, an eternity on television, the announcers stayed quiet, the only noise coming from the screaming of the crowd. Thirty-seven seconds, while a city went completely and totally insane with joy.

The people in New Orleans would never forget who gave them that gift.

Danno 12-17-2009 01:00 PM

Re: Saints the Soul of America's City
Article of the Year, without question.

fhotard 12-17-2009 01:12 PM

Re: Saints the Soul of America's City
I just got done reading it... was going to post it, but saw that you already did.
I'm a South LA native now living in FL. That's one of the best articles I've read in a long while. It made me homesick. Good thing I'm going home for Christmas!

exile 12-17-2009 01:14 PM

Re: Saints the Soul of America's City
Great article. Great game. One I will never forgot.

Sir Psycho Sexy 12-17-2009 01:23 PM

Re: Saints the Soul of America's City
A MUST READ. I'm promoting it to the front page.

Rugby Saint II 12-17-2009 01:47 PM

Re: Saints the Soul of America's City
Man, what a picture that painted for me. I could see N.O. as clear as if I were standing on top of the the Super Dome. :praise:

saintfan 12-17-2009 01:56 PM

Re: Saints the Soul of America's City
I sent the guy an e-mail to thank him for that. It really is a great read.

SaintGup 12-17-2009 02:48 PM

Re: Saints the Soul of America's City
Wow! Have just read the whole thing and had a few tears. As much as I love England, New Orleans just keeps drawing me back. At first it was because of the Saints and the fact that I wanted to see them and yes, I only go over during the season but it has much more for me now I have got to know some of it's people, it's food, it's music and more importantly it's spirit. A colleague once said to me 'what is New Orleans like?' I told them I had fallen in love with it and to really enjoy it you had to 'feel' it more than anything else to truly experience what it means.

saintfan 12-17-2009 03:17 PM

Re: Saints the Soul of America's City

Originally Posted by Sir Psycho Sexy (Post 184784)
A MUST READ. I'm promoting it to the front page.

Do I get a major award? LOL

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