Faith

That is the New Orleans Saints marketing slogan for 2005: Faith. There probably aren't too many people among the thousands still stuck in the city, or the thousands who evacuated before Katrina, that have much faith in anything right now. I know it seems ridiculous and perhaps selfish to write about football considering the absolute chaos and despair that is gripping New Orleans and the Gulf Coast of the US, but it's my connection to the city. The Saints have been my favorite NFL team since junior high. Despite their suckiness, I have followed them with blind loyalty. It's the reason I have been to New Orleans twice, and it's the reason I'm heartbroken to read and see what has happened to one of the coolest cities I've ever visited.

The situation down there right now seems incredible, impossible even. The coverage on TV makes it seem comparable to the Tsunami in some ways, yet it's happening in the US. People are starving, dying as they wait for removal to Houston or San Antonio. They're simply being covered with a sheet as people around them worry about trying to get food and water. Now one of the biggest fears is the violence of people who've armed themselves with looted guns & ammo, and don't have anything to lose. That is a scary combination.

I'm not sure why the US government has taken so long to react on a large scale. I think anyone watching the news even a couple days ago knew this was a major disaster. Being asleep at the wheel while one of his countries most famous cities drowns isn't helping Bush change anyone's opinion that he's got his head shoved so far up his ass that he can use his urethra as a periscope. We've all seen how Michael Moore turned the footage of Bush reading a book to those primary kids after he was notified of the 9/11 attacks against him. I wouldn't be surprised if the shots of him looking down on Louisiana and Mississippi from Air Force One come back to haunt him as well.

No one knows what the future holds for New Orleans. At this point they don't even have the levees plugged, and they can't start pumping water out until they do. Who knows what they'll find when the water is gone. Some are saying the dead could number in the thousands. Is it going to be possible to rebuild after that? I have no idea, but I hope so. New Orleans is truly a unique place, unlike any other American city I've visited. I got hustled into paying $20 for a shoe shine (I was wearing sneakers, totally didn't want a shine) on Canal street the last time I was there, but it didn't dampen my enthusiasm for the place, it's part of the experience. The people, food, and crazy partying of New Orleans combine for an experience you can't get anywhere else.

What of the Saints? I don't know how this season will go for them, I don't even know where they'll be playing their home games. I do hope they can win some games this year, but not for my own sake. I've stuck with them this far, I could take more losing. But hopefully they can play well and provide even a slight distraction for all the people suffering down there. I also hope they'll be back in the Superdome next season and everyone who's been forced out by this disaster will be back to see them. It's an uphill climb, but let's keep the faith.


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