The Saints didn’t make it to the SuperBowl again this year. New Orleanians are used to disappointment, and sadly, we’ve also gotten used to living among the destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina and the flood. While we look forward to Mardi Gras, we can’t help but wonder if
During the past several months, the Saints became
Everyone knows what happened on
Since the disaster, we’ve struggled to find normalcy. The citizens have volunteered thousands hundreds of hours to clean up the public spaces, gut homes for those who can’t do it themselves, and provide public voice to the umpteen planning processes that never seem to be good enough for the feds. In the meantime, those in the great elsewhere wonder why we haven’t progressed more. Fact is: you simply can’t understand the vastness and massiveness of it until you visit. Even I, an urban planner, was unprepared and still have days where I just cry because it is still unfathomable. So much human need; so much…. When are we permitted to start having fun without being judged because there is still so much to do? We stopped caring what the rest of the world thought a long time ago…we have the right to exist and we have the right to live life with passion.
Mardi Gras 2006 was our homecoming; our way of letting the world know that we are still here and that in spite of our tears and the barrage of insults, we still know how to have a good time. People said “Mardi Gras is irresponsible” – so is a lot of stuff, but people still do it. For those who think Mardi Gras is just a bunch of drunk tourists on Bourbon Street showing flesh for cheap baubles, I issue a personal invitation to come visit. Mardi Gras is a citywide party produced by private clubs but sanctioned by the city. There are balls, concerts, spectacular parades, and thousands of local denizens who don costumes and hit the streets to revel with thousands of other people having fun. Even if Mardi Gras had been cancelled, it would’ve happened. We would’ve still donned our costumes, and we would’ve made our own parades. It’s like that here. We love our city and we love the people of our community…all of them (except the criminals but that’s another article). Mardi Gras 2006 gave us a hard earned day off from recovery work, an escape from our new reality. It gave us reason to pause and rejoice in how far we had come, to celebrate our being.
A few months later people started saying “rebuilding the Dome is irresponsible. That money could be used for more important things.” Perhaps a new Dome would’ve been wiser since professional sports are big players in the economic landscape of competitive cities. The critics never considered that the Dome also hosts conventions and concerts and that the Saints football team is an economic engine for the metropolitan area. Surprisingly, not even the supporters expected the homecoming of the Saints to be the best mental health investment for the
So go ahead