Even before going to the Superdome to watch the Saints crush the Colts 62-7, I was having one of those great weekends you can only have in this glorious city. Saturday, I came across 2 brass bands in Jackson Square, including the Storyville Stompers leading a parade. People costumed as storybook characters carried a banner honoring “Jim and Terra’s Parade through the Quarter” from Wishes, Wonders and Who Dats. Jim and Terra are 2 children who died way too young and Wishes, Wonders and Who Dats benefits the Make a Wish Foundation.
Sunday, before the game, another parade passed by led by another brass band. It was a funeral for a young woman who, judging from the yellow ribbons distributed, may have passed from AIDS. As the parade of green drink-carrying revelers passed, I saw the young woman’s face smiling at me from the back of everyone’s t-shirts. At first, funeral second lines can look like any other parade and I was enjoying the free show, bopping to the music. I’ll admit it kicked me in the gut a bit when the mother’s horse-drawn carriage rolled by, portrait of her daughter sitting across from her. The younger the person, the harder it is to party at their passing, but we celebrate life and we celebrate the peace of passing.
Then it was time to head to the Dome. LSU had already had their biggest victory of the season, beating Auburn 45-10 despite losing 3 players to non-performance related drug suspensions. The game sets up a Clash of the Titans moment as number 1 ranked LSU and number 2 ranked Alabama are now set to meet on Nov. 5 for a historic match up. The city was packed with conventioneers and football fans including many Colts fans. Between the funerals and football fans, the whole city was in some sort of costume. As one of the sportscasters said about the upcoming Halloween, “I always thought that was a redundancy – Halloween in New Orleans.” He has a point.
While walking to the Dome, we stopped into a store to get a 32 oz. beer for the walk. As the cashier rolled down the paper bag and shaped it into a makeshift Koozie, I laughed, “You’ve done this before.” She just looked at me and smiled, “You know where we live.” Yep, New Orleans where you can smoke inside and drink outside.
Champion’s Square was packed with jersey wearing fans enjoying 70’s and 80’s cover band, The Wise Guys, who I’d seen before at last year’s Endymion Extravaganza. Breast cancer-pink wearing Saintsations danced in lighted boxes high above the crowd. The new Mercedes Benz markings on the Dome were fairly unobtrusive and everyone likes the new light show. After they ran out of beer, we wandered to the stage on the opposite side of the Dome and enjoyed another cover band, The Allison Collins Band. As they played songs ranging from Janis Joplin to Run DMC, the multi-generational crowd formed groups to line dance. I loved watching tots dressed in tiny jerseys and black and gold dresses dancing with their moms, brothers and sisters hugging and taking photos together and pawpaws with painted faces grooving to Salt N Pepa.
Inside, the game kicked in right away as we scored a touchdown on our first possession. Turns out they’ve added a spunky version of When the Saints Go Marching In whenever we make a touchdown. For those who’ve never been to a game, that brings our total number of dances to 3 – When the Saints Go Marching In for a TD, Second Line for every field goal and Stand Up and Get Crunk for every touchdown but not danced until confirmed after the field goal. Between the 5 touchdowns and 2 field goals, we danced at least 17 times. And as I’ve mentioned before, we Saints fans take our job of interfering with the opposing team’s ability to communicate very seriously so we yell, clap and create a general racket anytime their offense tries to make calls. The evening was exhilarating and exhausting.
In the first quarter, we scored 3 touchdowns making Drew Brees the 15th quarterback in NFL history to have 250 career touchdowns. By the end of the game, after 2 more touchdowns, he was ranked 14th despite sitting out for the entire 4th quarter. After being used to losing for 40 years, then becoming accustomed to nail-biters for the last 5, it was fun for everyone to watch the Saints just flat-out crush a team – the very same team we played to narrowly win the 2009 Super Bowl. The Colts are suffering the loss of their (New Orleans born) quarterback, Peyton Manning but our team is without a head coach on the sidelines since Sean Payton’s horrible accident last week. I thought the fans might soften as the score got higher and higher, but after having their asses kicked all up and down the field for decades, they relished the trouncing.
The Saints had 30 plays before needing a 3rd down. It was about 3 hours into the game before we finally needed to punt. That means that if we had the ball, we scored until the last few minutes of the game. When I excused myself just after a touchdown to go to the restroom, I made a joke about “peeing between touchdowns.” I ran there and back within a few minutes and arrived just as we’d regained possession and were, once again, heading for the end zone.
Special shout outs to touchdown receivers, Colston, Sproles and Graham as well as big yardage makers Thomas, Moore, and Ingram. Congratulations to record maker and breaker, Drew Brees, as well as kicker Kasay and the entire Saints DEFENSE! Nail biters may be exciting TV but it was a privilege to watch the Saints tie the highest scoring game since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970. The 62 points broke the Saints own franchise record and the margin of victory was also a first. As for the Colts, the margin of defeat set a record for them. For more game records, click here.
And, yes, it’s true. The Southern University marching band spelled out 7-34 at the halftime all while playing great music. I’ve never seen an impromptu formation like that. I only photographed when they spelled out the well practiced “Saints,” but the improv was mighty impressive.