Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Across The River From Algiers

Billy Joel wrote "Life is a series of hellos and good byes, I guess it's time for good bye again." 

Well I just moved from the west bank of the Mississippi back over to New Orleans.  Things are changing for the better. I will miss some of the kind folks over there. I didn't get to say good bye to a few, or tell them how special they are to me.

One gentleman I met was named Josh, a U.S. Coast Guardsman. I doubt that you could find anyone who could honestly speak a harsh word about this soul. Polite, positive and smart as a whip I always looked forward to seeing him. Most every time he walked away I would say to who ever was there "There goes a man I would not mind having my daughter bring some someday. I hope she will do as well as him when it comes to men." Any father of a girl knows what a compliment that is.  I have a greater appreciation for the United States Coast Guard, underfunded and under appreciated group of men and women who serve in times of war and peace.

 "A Steeler's Brain Eating Zombi"
Brian "Who-Dat" is one of the few native New Orleanians that I have gotten to know. The first few times Brian saw me, I was wearing my rattiest blue jeans and t-shirts covered with 5 coats of paint. Later Brian came up to me with an armful of clothes and said "Here brother, hope they fit. If you need any more let me know." A truly generous man who would literally give you the shirt off of his back and never remind you of it. A bar shirt from "The Alibi" is now one of my prized possessions because of the spirit that is was given. Perhaps he being a Katrina survivor who lost everything but what he could carry in his car is why he is so compassionate. I tear up when I think of his gifts.

It was also Brian who gave me my first appreciation of football. Brian has been a life long Who Dat, long before it was ever fashionable. He tells of being at a Saints game when he was a youth and seeing Saints fans wearing paper bags over their heads. It was as if the Super Bowl win last year was done exclusively for him. The entire city feels that personal about the team. They came close this year, but no cigar. Who Dats are still proud and joyous over their heroes' efforts. For the first time in my life, I actually gave a damn about who won a game. Brian, keep in touch so we can have a beer and watch a game together again someday. WHOO-DAAAT!

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