A lot of people around the country probably wondered, “How crazy was the party in New Orleans after the Saints won last Sunday night?”
So crazy that it took me a week to effectively recover and talk about it in full detail.
Not that this comes as any surprise. New Orleans has always been known for its ability to excessively throw down, and its Saints have always been known for their inability to do much of anything that wasn’t totally inept. The possibility of a Saints making it to the Super Bowl for the first time made a Sunday jaunt into the heart of the French Quarter impossible to resist.
Before we get any further, let us first clear up a misconception that’s been thrown around by the national media all season and will be hit even harder in the time leading up to the game in Miami. Yes, Saints fans suffered because of Katrina. But you know what? They’re over it. If nothing else, people in Louisiana are pretty resilient. The rebuilding process isn’t over, but New Orleans is still in better shape than Detroit right now. (Sorry, D-Town, but it’s true).
What they’ve really had to suffer through is watching the Saints for the past 42 years. We’re talking about the fanbase that literally invented the tradition of showing up to games with bags on their heads. A team that traded its whole draft for Ricky Williams. A team that once scored an 75-yard touchdown as time expired, then missed the extra point that would have sent the game into overtime.
What’s some wind and rain damage got on all of that?
So without further adieu, here is the NFC Championship Hangover-style photo gallery/diary thing that I’ve compiled.
One of the more confusing elements early on in the game was the sound of clapping whenever the Vikings did well. Finally, it was tracked down to these people, who are old enough to remember the last time the Vikings were in the Super Bowl and wise enough not to even wear an ounce of purple.
I did meet one soul brave enough to show up to the bar in a Vikings hat, and thus invited him to join me and my traveling companion for the game since I appreciated his show of bravado. It didn’t hurt that he was wise enough to by drinks for several of the Saints fans in our general vicinity.
The Saints being what they are, there were some nervous moments for fans in the fourth quarter — particularly when the Vikings got that ball and appeared on their way to a winning drive with 2 minutes left. But that ole Brett Favre always has a trick or two up his sleeve. (The only thing better than Favre’s second straight NFC Championship-losing interception was seeing former Hoosier great Tracy Porter making the pick. An IU player making a clutch play in an NFL playoff game?!? And even better yet was Porter doing the Jared Allen sack dance after getting tackled on his return, but most people were too excited to realize that was even happenining).
The reaction when Garrett Hartley’s kick went through the uprights in overtime was fairly typical — total strangers hugging each other in disbelief while other total strangers take pictures of them doing so.
The beauty of New Orleans is that within 10 minutes of the game ending you can wander out into the streets and find a marching band. Also, a random Chargers fan. Don’t figure he’ll have too many other opportunities to celebrate in the next three years, so who could blame him for joining in on the fun?
The joyous balcony people showed their appreciation by tossing down dozens of beads to us street denizens. And I didn’t even have to flash anyone. (But who’s to say I didn’t?)
Once I became one of the balcony people myself, I got a little better grasp of just how many people had spilled out onto Bourbon Street. And this is just looking in one direction. There’s just as many people stumbling around on the other side of my head too.
A group of confused Vikings fans tries to plot out its next move. My guess is that it was to ditch the guy in the Tommy Kramer jersey. Seriously, was the store out of Wade Wilson jerseys that day?
The night ended in the company of the Cajun Cannon, Bobby Hebert, as he finished broadcasting his radio show at approximately 2 a.m. How I actually ended up here was sheer coincidence, though. After originally stopping for food at a 24-hour eatery, I became incensed when I learned that they were not serving eggs benedict, which was clearly listed as a menu item. In fact, they had no eggs in the kitchen whatsoever.
Thus, I decided to bring my business elsewhere, and ended up wandering a few blocks to a seafood place that happened to be hosting the Saints’ post-game broadcast. In addition to a delicious meal of some sort of pizza that was covered by meats of various sea creatures, I also had the pleasure of ordering a drink called the “Danny DeVito,” which is pretty much the best way one can cap off such an evening — although there’s no telling what a Super Bowl celebration would bring.