This Runner Up thing is getting old. Springfield, Illinois, just lost out to some other Springfield that's not nearly as goofy. And the Saints lost the playoff game which I had to watch in Chicago. In the snow. Near Bears fans.
So I'm getting down to New Orleans for this year's playoffs if it's the last thing I do. To see Holy Moses blessing the team, and Saints fans in a sea of black and gold fleur de lis. In New Orleans these days, Crescent City imagery is everywhere. We considered Fleur de Lis tattoos while first displaced, but couldn't afford them. I now need one to match all my friends' arms. Just like I need an evacuee-issue "Ask Me About Katrina" shirt.
You could stamp anything with a Fleur De Lis and it would fly out of New Orleans craft fair booths these days. "Third World and Proud of It" and Crescent City Water Meter tee shirts are on sale all over. Residents are fiercely holding onto their culture in case no one else does.
New Orleans not only needs tourists and volunteers, it needs converts. And it's starting to get more of them. People who come to Jazz Fest every year to hear Dr. John, who march with the Mardi Gras Indians on their Super Sunday gathering, have been writing the New Orleans Musicians Relief Fund and telling us they plan to move to New Orleans to teach in her schools, or build new houses for the hundreds of thousands of residents waiting to come home.
So much waiting is still ahead. I had to miss a good friend's wedding last year and tell her that Katrina is my busy season. That's an odd RSVP but it's true again this year. There will be a brief window when the focus on going green will shift to going purple, gold and green. And maybe on August 30th this year, the camera crews' lights will stay on for an extended story.
One of my pet peeves is when people don't tell you their kid's age, just that he's 23 months old and you have to mentally divide by 12 to figure it out.
But New Orleans has been ready for its extended closeup for 23 months now.