Okay, yesterday was absolutely NUTS! I hope everyone saw last night's official re-opening of the Superdome. The New Orleans Saints beat the Atlanta Falcons TWENTY-THREE to three!
Now, I'm not going to pretend to be a really big fan of American football but like most New Orleanians, I hold a special place in my heart for the Saints. Sure, they hurt me to my heart year after year and, after every season, I swear I'm not going to let them get my hopes up ever again but, come August, I am drawn back into the game just to watch how the Saints perform. Unfortunately, I am old enough to remember the one year that the Saints went to the playoffs. The hype in and around the city was unbelievable. I was hooked on the team from that point on.
When you live with a true believer like The German, it's hard not to care about the Saints. Back when we first started dating, I was quite sure he was on his way to getting fired from his job. But was it because he was spending so much time with me? Nope. Instead, he decided that no matter how his boss scheduled him, he was simply not going to show up for work on the weekends until after the Saints game had gone off. It really made his co-workers a bit envious because they didn't feel like he should be able to get away with that but, apparently, he was so good at what he did that the management simply turned a blind eye when it came to The German's football addiction. Now that my cousin has moved down the street from us, The German has someone else around that loves the Saints as much as he does.
As a matter of fact, my cousin was one of many first responders at the game last night. What a lucky duck he is but, after all that he's been through in the past year working as a New Orleans firefighter, I'm really happy that he got the opportunity to go. I only wish I could have been there with him. Heck, I wish I could have been there even if he wasn't! The Vieux Carre was packed like it was Mardi Gras this past weekend and I sure am grateful to all of the people who came from out of town to attend the game. The local economy badly needed this boost.
I'd be lying if I said I didn't hope for a win but I'd made up my mind to be satisfied if they could at least manage to stay in the game. Well, they outperformed all of my expectations by beating
the pants off of the Falcons. That blocked punt in the beginning of the game set the tone for the whole evening. Nothing could have made the night more memorable than watching the Saints go on to win in the middle of all the hype surrounding the Superdome's re-opening. It was just perfect!
Speaking of perfection, Green Day and U2 performed together before and during the game to highlight a program created to help New Orleans. Green Day's "Wake Me Up When September Ends" sounded absolutely amazing with the addition of several horns played by local musicians. Introducing the performance was a slew of second-line bands and black social clubs doing it up in high style and full array. The two bands performed together to highlight a program founded by U2's lead guitarist, The Edge, after visiting New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. The program, called Music Rising, is designed to replace instruments that musicians lost during the storm. They've already provided over two thousand musicians with brand new instruments and in the next phase, Music Rising will be working to put instruments back into the local schools and churches.
This is a cause that is near and dear to my heart because of how much music has enriched my family and it all started in the schools. Every single one of my mother's children played an instrument thanks to music programs in the public elementary schools we attended. Almost all of the top jazz musicians out of New Orleans are the product of public school music programs: Harry Connick Jr., Wynton Marsalis, Trombone Shorty, Branford Marsalis, Irvin Mayfield, Donald Harrison, and Kermit Ruffins, among many others.
You can go to Rhapsody and see the U2 and Green Day performance and check out some other really nice clips including a performance of the song "Vertigo" that The Edge did with a local band awhile back ago. If you happen to be wondering what you can do that will make a real difference to New Orleans, PLEASE consider donating to Music Rising. I have already witnessed musicians benefiting from it and whatever helps New Orleans musicians helps the whole city because music is our most defining trait.