Last year the Saints gave us a chance to experience, for the first time, what it is like to be part of a championship. This year we are experiencing, for the first time, what it is like not to repeat a championship.

At first it hurt, but overall the experience has not been as bad as I thought. I might feel differently if Atlanta was playing in the Super Bowl, knowing that the Saints were only a silly missed field goal away from having defeated them twice. In a perverse sort of way, there is satisfaction knowing that the Falcons have still never won a Super Bowl, while the two teams in the big game, Green Bay and Pittsburgh, have each won so many that whoever wins will be no big deal. The world will not experience the magic of last year’s Saints win, and somehow that seems good.

As joyous as the Saints’ rise was last year, in retrospect I realize now how exhausting it was. From the time the playoffs began to the week after the Super Bowl, the city stood still; nothing else mattered. We were in a stunned frenzy, and then it was Mardi Gras time. That was perhaps the most joyous few weeks in the city’s history, but going through it was exhausting. I wish the Saints were playing again in the Super Bowl, but there is also something soothing about life returning to its regular pace; plus, Mardi Gras is late this year. We can breathe again.

Super Bowl week will go by quietly in New Orleans. There will be no novenas to St. Jude, or people refusing to change their lucky t-shirts, or jousts with the NFL about who owns “Who Dat.” Sure, I guess I’ll watch the game, but then again I might not. Seeing a different team carrying that Lombardi trophy –– that might be when it starts to hurt again.


NEW: SEE ERROL LABORDE’S MARDI GRAS VIDEO HERE.

Krewe: The Early New Orleans Carnival – Comus to Zulu by Errol Laborde is available at all area bookstores. Books can also be ordered via e-mail at gdkrewe@aol.com or (504) 895-2266.

WATCH INFORMED SOURCES, FRIDAYS AT 7 P.M., REPEATED AT 11:30 P.M. ON WYES-TV, CHANNEL 12.