I remember when I lost my mind
So the sun finally came out today after a five-day, weather-enforced mourning period
over the Saints' loss last weekend. I may have mentioned this in a previous post, but I am not a football fan -- far from it, in fact -- but the pain felt across the city this week was palpable. Man, that smarted.
I'd watched the first part of the game at home with a couple of friends -- we heard horns playing just before the end of the first quarter and for a second thought it was coming from the television, but it turned out to be a second-line parade happening just outside. A crowd of 40-50 people, 98.2 percent of them dressed in Saints paraphernalia, had stopped to dance to the 8- or 9-piece brass band. A few horse-mounted policemen were there to protect them from the traffic -- or maybe to protect the traffic from them, since they were headed the wrong way down a one-way street. The band was playing a particularly funky version of Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" -- how they made that one sound knew, I have no idea -- and as I thought about the lyrics, it seemed like such an appropriate theme song for the City that Care Forgot:
"And when you're out there
Yeah, I was out of touch But it wasn't because I didn't know enough I just knew too much Does that make me crazy? ... Probably..."
We went to watch the rest of the game at Ray's Boom Boom Room, one of a smattering of upscale(ish) black-owned music clubs to have opened since Katrina. (Jin Jeans is another.) Trumpeter Kermit Ruffins was there without his horn, emceeing the event and DJing during commercials. The long oyster bar that lines the wall opposite the long liquor bar wasn't open during the game - jello shots were being served instead -- but it was easy to imagine spending an evening ping-ponging between the two.
When New Orleans scored for the second time, strangers started hugging each other. More than a few people started crying. Had anyone happened by Ray's at half-time, they might have reasonably assumed that the Saints were winning. They were still down 16-14, but it didn't matter. All that mattered was that they were still in the game.
By the fourth quarter, of course, another look around the bar exposed some serious hang-dog, hopeless looks, but then Kermit stepped in, grabbed the mike, and started the rallying cry: "Who dat say they gonna beat dem Saints" -- inserting a loud shout of "NEXT YEAR" in between each round. And suddenly everyone brightened a little, remembering, Oh yeah -- next year.
I was reminded of watching the TV during Katrina and seeing a woman get plucked from the water like a wet rat and being brought to high ground by a rescue team. Stumbling out of the fishing boat -- clearly a little horrified that this was to be her 15 minutes of fame, and here she was wearing flip-flops and a white, see-through tank top -- the woman made a sort of perfunctory attempt to smooth her hair back and said to no one I particular, "I tell you what, man -- NEXT hurricane, I am OUTTA here."
Next hurricane. Next Season. In spite of everything, New Orleans is still in the game.
"...Maybe we're crazy?... Probably..."
Check out this Special! Free! Bonus! Sneak Peak! MP3 Download! of former New Orleans resident Michelle Shocked performing with Trombone Shorty: "Hardcore Hornography"
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