For the benefit of those of you not familiar with NFL history, the New Orleans Saints have a long tradition of under-achievement. So much so that their fans started referring to them as the “Ain’ts” and coming to games with paper bags over their heads. Last night that tradition was gloriously laid to rest.
It was, in many ways, a fairytale ending. And that’s not just the heartwarming story of a city trashed by a hurricane and left to rot by Washington working its way back to self-confidence on the back of a successful sports team. Stories and story-makers about in New Orleans.
There was the trans-Atlantic connection for a start. The Saints’ head coach, Sean Payton, spent some happy early years in England as quarterback of the Leicester Panthers. Playing at tight end on the same team was a lad called Martin Johnson who is the former captain and now head coach of the England rugby squad.
Then there’s the literary connection. On my twitter feed Neil Gaiman and Peter Straub were cheering on the Saints in support of their friend and fanatical Saints fan, Poppy Z. Brite. I understand that Harlan Ellison was supporting the Saints too.
I don’t have any Hollywood people on my Twitter feed, but I’m sure that Brad Pitt was cheering for the Saints and the city he adopted following Hurricane Katrina.
New Orleans is a city where everyone loves to go to party. It has hosted several superbowls for that very reason. Now at last it has a chance to party in its own right. As Bill McLaren might have said, there will have been dancing in the French Quarter last night. They’ll probably still be dancing next week.
Let’s drop in on Preservation Hall and see what they are up to.