If the gods are just, the New Orleans Saints will be crowned NFC champs by day’s end. I am not an avid NFL fan, but I’ll be glued to the tube tonight and rooting for them.
When I was growing up, the Saints were perennial losers, a circus of a team that could barely execute a quarterback sneak. They stunk worse than Bourbon Street on a Sunday morning in August.
I got to meet Saints quarterback John Fourcade when I was about ten. No. 11 was in Mobile to sign autographs at a one-star barbeque joint called J.R’s. My mom took me and my brothers. We were the only ones who showed up, so we sat at a booth with Mr. Fourcade for about an hour and talked about his experiences on the gridiron. I felt bad about the turnout, but he seemed to enjoy chatting with a random middle-aged woman and her three kids over a plate of pulled pork. (According to Wikipedia, Fourcade played on more teams in more leagues than any player in the history of football. The man has been around.)
Before moving to Nashville, I considered putting down stakes in the Big Easy. As much as I love New Orleans, it would’ve been the coup-de-grace of what some coaches might term a “rebuilding year.”
One weekend in April I drove to New Orleans on a reconnaisance mission. I’d tried to go a week before but blew a tire on the Interstate somewhere in Mississippi. I got a room at a hostel on Carondolet, just off St. Charles in the Garden District. If you’re looking to test your faith, or prepare for a role in a David Lynch film, spend a night at a hostel in the United States. I’m still recovering from the experience.
I did meet some very nice people that night, including a talented young vampire named Ronnie. While I was in the bathroom at a bar in the French Quarter, a man with a blond pony-tail and black cape walked in. As I was walking out he flashed me a smile, at which point I noticed two prominent fangs.
“Are you a vampire?” I asked.
“Yes, but do not be alarmed. I’m not sanguine.”
“So you’re not gonna suck my blood?”
“Finally! an intelligent tourist,” he said.
Later that night I chatted with Ronnie over a round of French Whore cocktails. He was not a sports nut, but still rooted for the home team. Let’s hope for a Saints victory, which would bring a little light into Ronnie’s world.