We Are Marshall has nothing on the real-life comeback story that’s unfolding in the wake of the New Orleans Saints’ playoff win over the Eagles. Last weekend’s game had me on the edge of my couch, swearing like a sailor, desperate for a win for my adopted city. No place needed it more.
When I was a child, I was lucky enough to have neighbors who were born and bred in New Orleans. In my hometown of Brentwood, L.A.–with its stately homes and well-manicured denizens–Auntie Gayle and Unkie Ralph’s zany ways were a departure from the norm. In short, they were more fun than anyone I had ever met. For Christmas, they wrapped their front door in gleaming, metallic paper with a giant bow like an oversized present and tangled themselves in battery-operated tree lights and bulb ornaments for my parents’ Christmas Eve parties. When my brother and I watched scary movies at their house, they would jump up from behind the couch to incite even louder screams from us kids.
From an early age, I saw them as the embodiment of New Orleans, a bewitching place where music courses through the city’s veins, where you dare not utter the word “voodoo,” lest wandering ears “put da curse on you,” and where the convivial spirit of Mardi Gras abounds all 365 days of the year.