While others shopped, I sat in the car outside a Marksville, La. strip mall on a hot September day listening to the Saints game on radio. The year was 2005, we were in our Hurricane Katrina exile and not much was going well, including the Saints game. Ideally the Saints should’ve provided some relief for […]
After three years of intense work to rebuild the storm-damaged and beleaguered Recovery School District, Superintendent Paul Vallas racks up kudos for delivering on his promises to increase the performance of hundreds of New Orleans school children who had been failed by some of the worst schools in the country. This fall, Vallas enters his […]
“This year, August ends with God banging on the door like the police.” – James Nolan, New Orleans poet, 2005 “Trust only poets.” – Mark Bowers, New Orleans-born artist, 1983 On a mid-summer morning, the door to the courtroom of U.S. Magistrate Louis Moore finally swings open.Court security officers spring to life. Dressed in blue blazers, […]
• According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, half of all Americans with high blood pressure now have the condition under control. These results show significant improvement over the past decade, with one-quarter of “hypertensives” having the condition under control in 2000 and one-third in ’04. In another positive […]
What sums up New Orleans better than anything else: a poor boy, a beignet or a T-shirt? Not just your plain white variety, or the salacious ones you can find on Bourbon Street, of course. Rather, T-shirts that celebrate the city, its culture and its language so well that they just couldn’t be made anywhere […]
Arnaud’s, located at 813 Rue Bienville, has been a staple in New Orleans practically since it’s opening in 1918. When Archie Casbarian acquired the restaurant in 1978, he knew the importance of keeping tradition alive. Rather than changing the menu and giving into the craze of redesigning, Casbarian simply restored and improved upon what was […]
Gifts at Fleur d’ OrléansFleur d’ Orléans is a shop filled with New Orleans-inspired treasures, including jewelry, textile accessories, scarves, table linens, handmade paper items, crystal ware and more. Owners, husband-and-wife team Jann Fenner and Thomas Laird, had spent several decades living in Asia, where they befriended local craftswomen and artists. They set off to […]
Savvy shoppers know they can find bargains at local farmers markets by purchasing what’s abundant and in season directly from producers. But through a new initiative called MarketMatch, people who use the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – the government assistance program commonly called food stamps – can get much more from their purchases at the […]
Give back to the city’s music community while treating yourself to Music Redeems, a live album featuring Ellis, Branford, Wynton, Ellis III, Delfeayo and Jason Marsalis along with friends Harry Connick Jr., Eric Revis on bass and Herlin Riley on drums. Proceeds go toward the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music in Musician’s Village. The recording […]
In the many years that musicians have enriched my life with interviews, certain phrases purr in my memory coves, including the day Allen Toussaint told me matter-of-factly “the city has a B-flat hum; it’s there, you can hear it.” What a line! The temptation to use it endlessly is always there. I do so sparingly […]
For many local students who participate, the Louisiana Outdoors Outreach Program-New Orleans is their first opportunity to paddle a canoe or hike wooded trails. LOOP gives them plenty of exposure to nature through 10 to 14 trips within a single school year, but there’s much more. “What we do is like a trinity,” says Dan […]
September is a cruel month. Yeah, I know what T.S. Eliot says about April, but in New Orleans, September is when things just start to cool down a little, only for the heat to come pummeling back like Mel Gibson on a bender. Now that’s cruelty, my friends. Eatventful (eatventful.com) is a new social networking […]
The neighborhoods surrounding Tulane and Loyola universities offer diners a slew of quirky and idiosyncratic dining options. Price points are often reasonable, making them attractive to students, and there seems to be a willingness to experiment on the part of chefs that can make for a refreshing change of pace. Lately the scope of offerings […]
Bananas aren’t just for snacking anymore. They aren’t even limited to breakfast and dessert; entrées with bananas provide a whole new dining experience. On the menu at Brennan’s, for example, you’ll not only find the restaurant’s world-renowned creation of bananas Foster but also savory entrées that partner beef filet and ham with this luscious fruit. […]
Discussions about the fairness and impact of school discipline will always get students talking. But now a group of young New Orleans scholars is striving to move the conversation to new territory, namely into “reconciliation circles.” It is part of a new focus on alternative discipline approaches from a youth think tank called Kids Rethink […]
For many men (and women), Mickey Loomis has a dream job as the Executive Vice President/General Manager of a National Football League team, the New Orleans Saints. Even if the team had not won the Super Bowl, armchair quarterbacks would no doubt put down their beers for a chance to run the team their way. […]
My mother-in-law, Ms. Larda, got no use for the digital world. We are at the Target store, with my daughter Gladiola, and Ms. Larda finds this fancy cross she wants for over her bedroom door – if it ain’t too expensive. Now, this is one of them stores that, instead of price tags, they got […]
While others shopped, I sat in the car outside a Marksville, La. strip mall on a hot September day listening to the Saints game on radio. The year was 2005, we were in our Hurricane Katrina exile and not much was going well, including the Saints game.
Ideally the Saints should’ve provided some relief for our misery and uncertainty during the season of 2005; instead they added to the worry. The franchise was playing its home games in San Antonio. With the Superdome practically destroyed and the population of New Orleans dispersed, there was concern that the team might not ever come back. The phrase “San Antonio Saints” made me quiver …
So did listening to the games. Not only was the team playing poorly but the broadcast quality of the central Louisiana station that carried them sounded as though the signal came through a hose. Jim Henderson and Hokie Gajan seemed to be in a box as their words of despair echoed.
About the only advantage to listening to the game on radio rather than watching it on TV is that I was spared seeing Saints quarterback Aaron Brooks’ maddening grin every time he dropped the ball, which he did often.
I realize now that as painful as the losses were I was really in a lose-lose situation because deep down inside I probably wanted the Saints to be defeated. Winning might have made the team more attractive to the folks in San Antonio, where the mayor there was already talking about securing the franchise. Subconsciously I might have been hoping for the old boring Saints whose misery would be even more apparent if Aaron Brooks would only stop smiling.
A couple of Saints games were played in Baton Rouge but the experience was more like going to a wake than to a celebration. Since Roman times we’ve known that Saints and Tigers shouldn’t be housed in the same coliseum.
In the end the Saints won only three games: an opening day victory at Carolina, another on the road against the Jets and a fourth week “home” match up against the Buffalo Bills. Thankfully the folks in San Antonio only got to witness one victory. Included among the losses was a 50-3 pounding by the Green Bay Packers and a defeat by the usually anemic Detroit Lions.
Once the season was over the situation began to look even worse. Head Coach Jim Haslett was fired, but instead of the Saints finding a replacement with head coaching experience, they came up with a little-known assistant coach from the Dallas Cowboys named Sean Payton. Mercifully Aaron Brooks was let go, but here again the team seemed to fail: Instead of finding a seasoned starter, they signed a too-short quarterback whom the San Diego Chargers had released because of a bum shoulder named Drew Brees.
From the perch of the season of 2005, one could’ve looked five years into the future and seen New Orleans as a town that had fallen not just in size and esteem but also in being a major league city. (Even the Hornets appeared bound elsewhere, to Oklahoma City.)
It seemed likely that by 2010, the Saints would be playing in another town having finished their tenure in the city of their birth without ever winning a post-season game.
Who could have imagined that when the 2009 season ended it wouldn’t be Aaron Brooks, but the world that would be smiling?