Tuesday, September 26, 2006

We Still Got It

As I begin this, I haven't titled this yet, and I don't know what the title will be. Don't even have anything to say in particular, but I feel compelled to say something about the unbelievable day New Orleans has had. It was only in the last 36 hours that I realized what all the fuss about tonight's re-opening of the Dome and the Saints being back was about. But seeing how jazzed up and happy it made everybody just felt really good.

Having just moved back 2 months ago after being gone 12 years, I forgot what being in the middle of Saints territory was like. The love for the team, the hope -- the hate for the team at times. Tonight, though, was different. People here NEEDED what happened tonight. Being back here, I have felt a collective sense of depression in people, a desperate need to hang onto our city and our culture. But all day today, the mood was what it used to be -- happy and lighthearted. People were actually smiling! They were back to doing that pre-K joie de vivre, que sera sera thing we've been so good at doing even while the city was falling to shit.

I know everyone wasn't thrilled. I know that spending $185 million on the Dome seems almost sacreligious when so many still don't have homes or even decent water pressure. But having just gotten through a tough one-year anniversary and the even tougher year before that anniversary, it seemed that people here were just tired. Some have given up. Tonight was our shot of Prozac. It was our chance to show the world that we're here. With the blown out windows of a luxury hotel and a once gleaming skyscraper right next to the Dome, we're here.

The outcome and what happened from the first to the last minute of the game was perfect. We hung our hopes on a team that, quite frankly, we're used to being disappointed by. That's why the win tonight was so huge. We counted on a team that has never delivered when we most needed them to. Until tonight. And who else but a New Orleanian would rely on such a thing? It's like the seemingly insane attachment we have to this place that outsiders don't get that keeps us here flood after flood after hurricane after shooting after scandal after flood. The hope we've had for our Saints reflects the hope we have for this region that no matter how bad it gets, when it's all said and done, the good times, the better life, the better schools and safer homes will be worth all the hell and disappointment it takes getting there.

Tonight was a reminder of the good times we can have again -- the life we're working to get back -- and it's exactly the boost our collective psyche needed in order to get us out of bed tomorrow and face another day of insurmountable challenges that, as tonight showed us, we have every reason to keep hoping we will ultimately surmount. It was almost like we needed tonight to prove to ourselves that we can still live it up like no one else, that we can laugh while we cry, that we can secondline and dance on the way back from putting someone in the ground, that we are still south Louisiana and we are still New Orleans.

And you know what? We still got it.

1 comment:

geun said...

Hey E.J,

Great piece on the Saints and the return of the N-O spirit. I am going to check out the link to Chris Rose's. Take care