I missed what appears to be a record-breaking snowfall in Baltimore. And, in some ways, I really did MISS it. I don’t much care for snow, particularly in my hometown, which isn’t particularly skilled at handling it. (Our snow removal plan seems to rely rather heavily on the old-fashioned technology known as “Melt, please.”) But these are the things of which memories are made. And, sometimes, valuable new habits: It was the blizzard of 2003 that got me started writing at Spoons on a daily basis. I actually feel guilty, writing this in a city where the sky is blue and temperatures are forecast to reach 60 or so today.
But being away from Baltimore meant I was in place to experience New Orleans winning its first Super Bowl. And it was sweet. Not the arch, drawn-out “sweeeeeeet!” of recent vernacular, but truly sweet. Adorable, even. In the days before the game, locals were nervous, on tenterhooks. It sometimes seemed as if people might burst into tears from sheer anxiety. A well-timed “Who Dat?” could earn one a particularly good Mardi Gras throw. (Thank you, Krewe of Sparta, for my first-ever “real” Mardi Gras necklace, one made with the glass beads that were once common.) The hours before the game, the city felt like Christmas Eve, hushed and waiting.
As a newcomer and part-timer, I approach the Saints with deference, a stance I explained to the checker at Whole Foods on Sunday. I didn’t want to jump a bandwagon, although I yearned for a “WHO DAT NATION” T-shirt. “You’re entitled, you live here,” she said. Then, on an apparent hunch, she asked: “And you can hate the Colts, right?” Boy, can I! So I focused on my Colt hate and let the good people of New Orleans bring the love. We have to play to our strengths.
Within minutes of game’s end, I was on Magazine Street, drinking in the scene, which was mild compared to what was happening in the Quarter. The people here are quite good at celebrating; they know how to vent their high spirits without destroying property. People sang, they cheered. A family tossed Mardi Gras beads from the bed of a pick-up truck. A police officer waved a Saints jersey from his car, even as he encouraged people to get out of the streets and onto the sidewalks. A giddy — okay, drunk — woman told me a convoluted story about how she came to be setting off fireworks in the middle of the street.
Today, the city is blissed out, the Times-Picayune is impossible to find and only four people showed up for the Monday Cardio-Combat class. It’s a day made for basking. Parade tomorrow. Then seven straight days of parades, actually. I am a Baltimore girl, crabbed and pessimistic. But I’m happy to be a bystander to all this euphoria.
Memories of big events/celebrations/blizzards, if you’re so inclined.