NEW ORLEANS: The Crescent City. The Big Easy. Nawlins.
Yes boys and girls this city is alive and well. Vibrant and thriving and reborn.
In 2005, Hurricane Katrina nearly destroyed one of the most unique cities in the world. The home of the French Quarter, Voodoo, the Saints, Tulane University, Bourbon Street, The Radiators, the Superdome and the Sugar Bowl. One Category 5 storm nearly washed all of that way. But…
This city was too strong. The history too rich. The citizens who stayed and/or came back too resolved. Now New Orleans is the center of the sports world and that is the way it should be.
Sports should not be the focus of a town especially when it is being rebuilt but sport is one of the major reasons this town has been rebuilt. Bigger. Better. Cleaner. More exciting.
At first, it seemed like it was going to be a struggle just to survive. Many naysayers voiced their opinion that the city should just be forgotten, bulldozed, wiped off the map. Many felt that humans should finish the job that Mother Nature had started. I am glad the city didn’t listen and its citizens didn’t give up.
I had been to The Big Easy before Katrina and now since. It’s so much better today than ever before. Sporting events are but one of the reasons why. A huge reason.
The Saints spent the 2005 season as vagabonds. Basically playing their entire schedule on the road despite calling San Antonio and Baton Rogue home. Just five years later, they were the Super Bowl Champions and that victory brought pride back to the city. I don’t believe that there is a city in the NFL that is more supportive of their team and their team more supportive of its city.
The 2006 Sugar Bowl was moved from the ravaged Superdome to the Georgia Dome and West Virginia beat Georgia in a shootout, 38-35. In 2007, the game returned to this city and as if it was scripted in Hollywood, the Tigers from the Bayou beat Notre Dame 41-14. Sports brought the tourists back to town.
In 2008, New Orleans played home to not only the annual Sugar Bowl but also the BCS Championship Game and again as if Hollywood wrote the script, LSU won the National Championship in their “home town” 38-14 over Ohio State.
The Super Bowl returns in 2013. Tuesday night the Michigan Wolverines beat the Virginia Tech Hokies 23-20 (in OT) in the Sugar and next Monday night, the BCS Championship returns to this amazing city. Once again, Hollywood couldn’t have written it better as No. 1, undefeated LSU looks to hand No. 2 Alabama another defeat to win yet another National Championship “at home.”
Through it all, New Orleans lived. Throughout the history of this very old city, it has been forced to its brink, only to be rebuilt. It’s been beaten but not defeated, time and time again.
Sports have unified the city. College sports have electrified the city. Championships have solidified the city.
Get your beads ready. LSU and Alabama are in town. The BCS week is underway and the French Quarter is the center of the sports universe.
In 2005, many read this city its last rights. I declare this city, this wonderful, unique and spectacular city: SAVED.
Originally written and published for BeyondUSports.com by Bruce Silverman