Wednesday, February 03, 2010

A Letter to New Orleans from a Viking Fan

Here is a nice letter to the editor from a Minnesota Vikings fan.

I have overwhelmingly heard and seen the same thing from the many visitors to New Orleans. The French Quarter and the Riverwalk are now a literal walk from my front door thanks to the rerouting of the Gretna Ferry. It is common in New Orleans to see opposing jerseys on tourists in town for big college and NFL football games. They are often wearing beads and carrying beers, daiquiris, or hand grenades (not the real ones) and big smiles.

Like I said, living in the town of Gretna (home of Zatarain's, Mel Ott, Heritage Fest, and Pelican Publishing) - a short walk from New Orleans - I have seen this same scenario again and again with my own eyes (such as a lot of Ohio State fans in scarlet and gray strolling around Canal Street and the Riverwalk high-fiving with LSU-clad folk right before the national championship two years ago). The local merchants likewise have no problem selling merchandise of the opposing team and putting them on prominent display. I have never once seen a person attacked or being rudely treated for being on the "wrong" side. To the contrary, it is a well-known fact that the local culture of New Orleans is rooted in hospitality to tourists visiting us, and though I'm sure there are exceptions, they only serve to prove the rule.

I grew up in Northeastern Ohio and worked for a while in downtown Cleveland. And I can tell you from experience, you do not want to walk around near East Ninth and Superior in a black and gold shirt. In fact, I would advise the clergy in the "best location in the nation" (the land of Ghoulardi, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the twice-"ablaze"-Cuyahoga River, and Drew Carey) to avoid wearing gold crucifixes with black clericals if it is a Steelers-Browns weekend. I'm kidding, of course - but only a little. But even all that being said, the vast majority of Browns fans were good-natured and well-behaved. There's also the whole OSU-Michigan thing as well. Now that's a rivalry that made some blood boil!

I have lived all over the country - and as much as I did enjoy my time in Philly, we honestly got out of town when any Philadelphia team was in any championship game. A lot of people in Philly secretly rooted for the visiting team out of fear of a riot. And it goes without saying that the vast majority of Philadelphians did not set cars on fire and loot and create terror. But there were enough bad apples to create a lot of bad press for the City of Brotherly Love - as well as a lot of uncomfortable residents of the city.

The Crescent City (like any other place on the globe) is not without some bad apples of her own, but the overall culture of the city, and overwhelmingly so, is joie-de-vivre and laissez les bons temps rouler.

And here is an Open Letter to the City of Miami that kind of sums up how we roll in da Big Easy.

But win or lose, there will be a parade. Of course, if we didn't have the Saints, there'd still be a parade for some reason or other, dawlin'. And for lagniappe, we been having crawfish season a p'ti bit early now that winter's jus bout ovuh. If you want to trade in the snow for some beads and king cake, jazz and blues, and hospitality that's so Southern Fried that Southern Mississippi is considered "up north," - now's the time.

Y'all come!


Ted Badje said...

Good Luck to the Saints. When I was in tech school for the Air Force in Biloxi, my instructor gave some good-natured ribbing about the New Orleans team, but it is great to see where they are now. Some day soon, I hope to say 'How about them Cowboys?' again.

Peter said...

A fitting tribute to a great and big-hearted city.

calov said...

Ah, someday, when the good Lord blesses me with some extra income, I shall come and visit you. I hear that taking the Amtrak is the best way to go.

Pastor D said...

In Decatur we'll be feasting on red beans and rice with smoked pork in honor of the saints and colts. Should be a great game.

judith leretsis said...

Being from Erie Pa.(Trinity Lutheran), you made me laugh about the Steelers/Browns games. They are always hugh games in our little city. Since we are between 3 great cities, we are split probably 45% Steelers, 45% Browns and 10% Bills. Makes for interesting dynamics in our bars and restaurants on game day. Looking forward to a great game tonight.