Who Dat! Go Saints! Oh when the Saints go marching on, oh when the saints go marching in, oh Lord I want to be in that number when the Saints go marching in!
New Orleans has finally reached the Super Bowl, ts football team a victor in a hard fought contest last night over the tough and talented Minnesota Vikings. The win has energized a city that was devastated by Hurricane Katrina only a few years ago.
The Saints came into existence in 1967 and found themselves in the heart of the college football bible belt, so to speak. For years they were a woeful and hapless team struggling for decades, even failing to finish with a winning record for their first twenty-five years. Yet from their earliest days the city was crazy about them Saints. It was their pro-team, the big leagues.
There were a few highlights along the way in those early days, but too few. Tom Dempsey, "straight on" old style kicker, hit a record 63 yard field goal during an early home game at Tulane Stadium, where the team first played.
Quarterback Archie Manning starred on the team, which is amazing since he was first a star at LSU's rival Ole Miss. Archie fell in love with the city and made it his home. He raised three sons there including Payton and Eli Manning. Brett Farve grew up in nearby Kiln, Mississippi, and the Saints were his childhood favorite team.
After Katrina the population of the Crescent City shrank to about 250,000, a nearly 50% loss. Parts of the city were destroyed and its future was bleak. New Orleans has slowly recovered much of its footing. Now the population hovers around 350,000 and it is growing.
New Orleans is unique in America because of its culture, strong French heritage and its music. The French Quarter is pretty much back to normal as tourists throng to the many nationally known restaurants and bars. There is still much to be done in other parts of the city, and Katrina's scars and a troubling crime rate still haunt everyday life.
But the Saints, led by Drew Brees and Reggie Bush, are a shot in the arm for the city and a promising sign that the city is as great as ever. The hope never dies.
Who Dat? Dems the Saints, the New Awlins Saints!