Posts tagged New Orleans Saints

Biggest Weekend Since….


This weekend features 3 major events: the Super Bowl featuring our own long suffering New Orleans Saints; the end of a horrible, terrible political era- the primary election to get rid of Mayor Ray Nagin; the beginning of the 10 big days of Carnival- Major parades commence mostly every day right through Mardi Gras Day, Tuesday, February 16.


Enough’s been written about New Orleans Saints first appearance in the Super Bowl. It’s been 43 years since the Saints were formed, and the Crescent City has suffered through decades of bad teams, starting with the original owner, John Mecum, Jr., who never understood the game of professional football very well.  Finally Tom Benson, who made his money in San Antonio, Texas selling cars, bought the team from Mecum.  A new era began, but the Saints still took a couple of decades to reach 2010, the year the Saints shook off shackles, real or imagined, and made it to the Big Game in Miami.

Mayor Ray Nagin has been the worst mayor in decades. He was the mayor of record when Hurricane Katrina hit on August 30, 2005. His actions over the last few years have retarded New Orleans recovery. Good riddance to Mayor Ray Nagin.  The election on Saturday will start the process of getting rid of this miserable politician.

Horrible NOLA Mayor Ray Nagin

Last but not least, it’s the first big weekend of Carnival 2010. Parades roll throughout the New Orleans Metro Area. Due to the Super Bowl, some parades have changed starting times, one has cancelled, and at least one has switched days.

Krewe of Bacchus' Bacchusaurus passes Gallier Hall

New Orleans, Not Miami, Filling Up for Super Bowl


Hotels in the French Quarter report an upswing in bookings of around 15% as New Orleans Saints fans from around the globe head to New Orleans instead of Miami, site of  Super Bowl 44. According to some of the major bar owners in the Quarter, win or lose, they expect Quarter traffic to mirror the crowd the last few days before Fat Tuesday. That would just about fill up all rooms by Fat Tuesday.

The French Quarter streets are heavily decorated in the team colors, and Saints fever has struck region wide. Everyone downtown is wearing black & gold beads.

Police will increase their coverage in the French Quarter this weekend, adding approximately 600 officers, police spokesman Bob Young said. That’s about the number the city would deploy if New Orleans were hosting the game.

Saints Mania throughout New Orleans is at an all time high, crossing every economic strata. After 43 years of marching around the desert, we finally have arrived at the promised land- the Super Bowl. Win or lose, there will be big party in New Orleans Super Bowl night to celebrate our Saints Super Bowl Appearance.

It’s amazingly ironic that super native son Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Super Quarterback, scion of legendary Old Miss and Saints Quarterback Archie Manning and brother of New York Giants Quarterback Eli Manning, is the Saint’s key adversary against our own Super Quarterback, Drew Brees.  Peyton, like his two brothers Cooper and Eli, all attended Newman High School on Jefferson Avenue uptown. They all grew up uptown, as Archie remained in New Orleans after his football career ended. That’s as New Orleans as it gets.  So it’s one Super New Orleanian, Drew Brees against another Super New Orleanian, Peyton Manning. Fireworks are expected! The Super Shoot Out of Super New Orleanians!!

Bobby Hebert in Drag at Who Dat Parade UPI



KdV 2010 float

The night might have been cold, but the crowd gathered for KdV was anything but. It was an overflowing, warm crowd welcoming in the 2010 parade season.  KdV didn’t disappoint , with their well made, home made floats, skewering Mayor Nagin, Bill Jefferson, etc; their 17 brass bands & 18 mules; plus their wildly original throws, including golden dreidels, devil match books, Mardi Gras colored, handmade bead encrusted match boxes, and much more. We caught an illegal Saints bath towel- black with a gold Fleur de Lis.

I’m in KdV, and it’s an indescribable experience, rolling down the historic streets of the Marigny and French Quarter, meeting and greeting thousands of Mardi Gras and Saints revelers. Yes, it was absolutely freezing last night with a howling wind, but the city and the crowd embraced our parade as they always do and will, and it’s among the greatest feelings in the world.  Running into old friends, making new ones, there’s many layers to the fun of Carnival. You could tell the crowd was having a ball as much as the krewe members.

2010 KdV Underwear float

Once the parade assembles and starts rolling, it’s 2.5 hours of screaming “Happy Mardi Gras! & “Who Dat!” & “Go Saints!” over and over, and high fiving thousands and thousands of folks lining the parade route. As a Guardian for the Krewe of Underwear, I stood next to my float, guarding it from overzealous fans, constantly checking behind me to make sure the krewe members were keeping behind the float but in front of the marching band.

A complete parade unit- band, marching krewe members and donkey pulled float tends to undergo a Slinky-type maneuver as the parade progresses. The 3 discrete units get too close together, then too far apart, imitating a Slinky’s motion. This occurs when krewe members get occupied and slow down to a crawl. The band closes in from behind, and the float moves ahead.

The Krewe of underwear’s band last night was Egg Yolk Jubilee. They were terrific, playing a wide variety of marching music.

When you high five someone, your eyes meet, and you form an instantaneous Mardi Gras and/or Saints connection that lasts a microsecond, before the next high five begins. It’s a bit of a power grab by the krewe member that only lasts for a moment, since the parade goers want a throw, and only the krewe members have those throws.  These moments aggregate over the 150 minutes the parade is on the street and impart a good feeling that lasts a few days.

That feeling dissipates slowly over the next couple of days, but each time you remember the experience, that great feeling returns for an instant- you are happy!

One notable aspect of the KdV floats that has become much more obvious to the krewe members is how professional the floats construction has become.  The sub krewe members decide themselves what their float theme is, what materials to use in construction, and and built it themselves. Over the decades, these amateur float builders have learned carpentry, paper mache sculptures making , building & maintaining float carriages, lighting, and any other skilled crafts necessary for their float’s execution. I was positively amazed at how professional in all aspects the finished Underwear float was.

Saints Influence on Mayoral Race & Mardi Gras 2010


Saints head to the Super Bowl!!

Hail Krewe of Zulu Parade!

Mardi Gras approaches, and a relatively big local election looms large. On February 6, the electorate will choose a new Mayor, City Council, Louisiana Senate & Legislature, Assessor, among other important governmental positions.

The Saints have won their first ever League Championship and the Superbowl comes smack dab in the middle of Carnival- the Super Bowl is Sunday, February 7, and Mardi Gras Day is Tuesday, February 16. Carnival and local elections have mixed before, but the Saints haven’t ever played this late in the season, bringing an extra layer of fervor and hedonism to the mix. My own parade, Krewe Du Vieux, rolls on Saturday, January 30.  That adds lots of additional FUN to the  proceedings. Let’s not forget Cupid’s holiday, Valentine’s Day, which always falls on February 14.

At the time of this posting, the Saints RULE their roost, and it’s a citywide obsession. Therefore, many parading krewes would like to load up on Saints merchandise.  However, Saints memorabilia is getting more expensive, not cheaper, making it costly for float riders. Some of the major krewes had the foresight to order Saints footballs, etc. in a timely basis, so they will be throwing highly sought after Saints stuff.  Those krewes that parade after Valentine’s Day will load up on 50-75% off sales so you should see plenty of red hearts & arrows coming off the floats.

There are 8 parades in the metro area on Election Day. Parades always have a depressing effect on voter turn out.  If  less people vote, how does that change the outcome? It depends on who doesn’t vote. Motivated voters turn out regardless, therefore it’s safe to assume those that stay home are less motivated than those that take the time to vote.

You can count on numerous Saints-themed floats this year, and the stars of the team have become the stars of Mardi Gras 2010. Owner Tom Benson is Grand Marshall of Endymion February 13; Drew Brees is Bacchus on February  14; Sean Peyton is a Celebrity Monarch of Orpheus February 15. It’s rare that the Crescent City has such a huge success that everyone can enjoy, and many krewes will develop special floats to commemorate this fabulous occasion.

An announcement from Endymion said Benson will bring an entourage to the parade, including his wife Gayle, his granddaughter and team co-owner Rita Benson LeBlanc and a delegation of Saints players and staff members.

Endymion Captain Ed Muniz said the krewe is having special umbrellas made for Benson, who is known for his umbrella-waving, second-line-style celebrations after big wins. The krewe also said Benson and other riders on his float will throw coins commemorating the 25th anniversary of his ownership of the Saints.

Some parades have changed their day or route because of the Super Bowl, and one parade, Rhea in Metairie, canceled.  Alla, a big West Bank parade will parade on the day before the Super Bowl. King Arthur and Pontchartrain Uptown are moving their parade up one hour, so they finish before Super Bowl Kick Off.

Citing Super Bowl, Rhea scrubs its 2010 parade in Metairie


By Mark Waller, The Times-Picayune
November 11, 2009, 7:20PM

Not wanting to compete with the biggest game in football, and potentially the biggest game in New Orleans Saints history, Metairie’s Krewe of Rhea has canceled its 2010 Carnival parade on Feb. 7, Super Bowl Sunday.

Rhea captain Anna Marie Soto said Wednesday that krewe members concluded turnout would be low, whether the now 8-0 Saints are in the game or not. They expect turnout to be zero if the Saints are indeed playing.

“That would’ve affected our riders and people coming in the street,” Soto said. “If the Saints get in the playoffs and in the Super Bowl, we wouldn’t have anybody out there.”

Rhea normally rolls in the early afternoon two Sundays before Mardi Gras and has been parading on Veterans Memorial Boulevard since 1969. Soto said she worked with Jefferson Parish officials to find another date in 2010, but the only options were evening time slots that didn’t appeal to krewe members because the parade attracts entire families with children.

“We really just have to sit out this year,” Soto said, adding that members didn’t want to risk spending the money to produce the parade only to find the streets and floats sparsely occupied.

Another Metairie krewe that has long paraded immediately after Rhea, the Krewe of Centurians, anticipated the Super Bowl conflict and switched its 2010 date a year ago, said captain Norman Bourgeois Jr. Centurians moved forward five days to Friday, Feb. 12, partly because of the game and partly because the krewe was already interested in making the move, Bourgeois said.

By parading on Friday night of Carnival’s final weekend instead of the preceding weekend, he said, the krewe hopes to increase member participation and crowd sizes and boost that day’s Friday’s Carnival activities in Metairie, which Bourgeois described as inconsistent in recent years.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve had a really good parade on Friday,” to compete with the offerings in New Orleans, he said.

New Orleans officials have not heard any concerns from krewes scheduled for Feb. 7 about competing with the Super Bowl, said James Ross, spokesman for Mayor Ray Nagin.

While the Super Bowl was part of the decision for Centurions, Bourgeois said, krewe officials had no idea at the time they sought their date change that the Saints would be making an historic run.

But the team’s bright prospects halfway through the regular season seem to validate the decision, he said.

“I don’t think anybody would want to miss that opportunity” to watch the Saints’ first Super Bowl, Bourgeois said. “We’ve got to dream.”

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