NEW ORLEANS — This city doesn’t expect anyone to understand. And frankly, it doesn’t care.
Just like there is no place on earth like New Orleans, no place on earth heals, perseveres, responds and finds the joy in heartache and sadness like New Orleans.
So when it comes to the aftermath of The Game That Must Not Be Mentioned and Sunday’s outright fraudulent Super Bowl LIE, well, the city did its thing: It refused to watch the “big” game.
Instead, it came together. It rejoiced. It celebrated a glorious New Orleans Saints season that was stolen from it. And it may have been over-served.
This is its story.
The most important meal of the day
It’s always Brunch SZN in New Orleans. Breakfast comes too early in the land where bars never close, and you have to build a caloric base somehow. Hey, Bloody Marys are a food group, right?
The Ruby Slipper Cafe on Magazine Street in the Lower Garden District (yes, it’s a chain … whatever) came correct with a special menu to get the day started right.
And would’t you know it, it didn’t stop there. As the country is now noticing, this city has no chill. When it gets dug in, it’s going the distance. Here was our brunch companion, courtesy of the restaurant:
And don’t hate, because he tipped 30 percent.
Oh, man, they really do mean a party
The next stop was Tracey’s, an Irish Channel mainstay that should be well known to “Simpsons” fans. The bar had a DJ, fresh-shucked oysters and crawfish on the sidewalk, and was packed with black-and-gold-clad fans. There was a also a surprise special guest:
Kyle Kelly, 25, was at The Game That Must Not Be Mentioned. He talked about screaming so much and so loud that he had a headache by the second quarter. But that pain, much like the end of the Saints’ season, has faded.
“It was terrible. It was awful,” Kelly said. “But this is how New Orleans does it. I was born and raised here, and I never will leave.”
And why would he? He was hanging out here on a Sunday:
We have a block party!
Further down Magazine Street in Uptown, they took the party to the streets, with New Orleans’ finest closing down the block and keeping everyone safe. Don’t believe me? Officers were handing out these go cups to party goers who simply couldn’t be contained:
Yes, it was more DJ party music, this time with dance circles, pop-up markets, beer, more beer and food. But the premier attraction was a coffin in which Saints fans made their final peace and buried the harsh, cruel memories of The Game That Must Not Be Mentioned. And they hurled insults at the Atlanta Falcons along the way. That always makes things better.
Second lines are for the people
While the monster parade that started in Jackson Square in the French Quarter had a massive, impressive and raucous turnout, ultimately New Orleans is a city of community and tight relationships.
To get the real feel you have to venture into the neighborhoods, and near Audubon Park we found The Kingpin, a neighborhood bar that was not playing around. You know what they say: We are all sinners, but on Sunday we are Saints.
With the Big Fun Brass Band leading the way, the people were ready to get a move on and remind everyone that it’s all about blowing whistles and not games.
The Kingpin was showing Super Bowl XLIV from 2010 and was offering free shots if the Saints win. So please, no spoilers.
The Boycott Bowl
The concert/art festival/food/booze event near the French Quarter was put together quickly and nearly sold out quicker. Featuring New Orleans royalty such as Choppa, Big Freedia and Kermit Ruffins, the event sold out on Friday and was absolutely crowded.
After venturing to spots throughout the city, hunger hit us like Nickell Robey-Coleman hits defenseless receivers. Luckily, the Boycott Bowl did not disappoint.
With our appetite satisfied, it was time for a refreshing beverage. And just to show you how New Orleans does nothing halfway, well, here ya go. Bayou Teche Brewing in Arnaudville, Louisiana, stepped up and had a little special something for the party people — and for a good cause!
The last stop
To end the day that pretty much waged war against the most egregious theft in NFL history, there was only one option: The Avenue Pub, the greatest beer and whiskey bar in America (the world?). (Yes, I know you may have a great bar. This one is better.)
With The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion playing on the sound system (we’re not kidding — hello ’90’s) and the Saints’ Super Bowl victory playing on the TV, the bartender says the owner had one simple instruction: “Under no circumstances are you to put on the game [Super Bowl LIE].”
But Saints fans, no matter how disappointed, always look for a better tomorrow. You don’t overcome what this city has without hope and a little something else. Because this city doesn’t give up and it doesn’t quit. It believes and it always will. God bless, NOLA.
This is just a glimpse of what it means to be in New Orleans. The city parties hard and loves even harder. And when it comes to Saints fans, yes, they have no chill.
And BTW, the Falcons still suck.
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