Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Sugar Bowl wrapup

The wife did a fine job posting my called-in Bourbon Street reports (ala Charlie Arnold) Saturday night, but the trip down to see LSU win its first national championship in 45 years deserves a bit more attention. I was too wiped when we got home last night to get to the bloggin, so apologies for making all you loyal CKHW fans wait.

So TCL and I headed toward New Orleans Saturday morning. I think I helped Sirius sell another unit, as TCL was obsessed with the Blues stream.

The trip down was uneventful, and we made it in about 6 hours flat. Our LSU car flags didn't fare too well (I got mine at Albertson's, so I guess I should have expected that) at 85+, but it was good to get down in time for a late lunch. Food, of course, is a key ingredient of any trip to Louisiana, so that was Job 1.

Actually, it was Job 2. On the way to the restaurant - which I'll call "20-Minute Muffaletta" - we hit the closest daquiri shop. The south Louisiana daquiri-shop daquiri is one of the few non-bourbon drinks TCL and I actually seek out. Thirty-two ounces of 151 rum-infused slurpee makes for a swell afternoon.

So we grab the daquiri quarts and head over to wait 20 minutes for somebody to make us a muffaletta. We toted it home (the 20 minutes were well spent - it was gooooood), chowed down and killed the daquiris.

It took some time for our krewe to arrive - TCL's brother, his wife, another couple friend of TCL's little sister and her husband (with whom we were staying) and a big dude named Sam. We headed out around 6, I guess. TCL getting tossed out of Utopia at 8 (see the wife's post) kicked the night into high gear.

TCL and I ended up leaving the Quarter sometime around 12:30 (after leaving left the rest of the krewe behind) and spent some time at the Circle Bar up on St. Charles. I guess we got home around 2 or so. It may seem like an early night for New Orleans, but it included 10 hours of drinking on top of the 6-hour drive. I make no apologies.

We got up Sunday morning (I have a horrible affliction which prevents me from sleeping late after I've been drinking, so I was up at 8:30) and eventually went over to see our boy Dave and his wife & kids. We stopped off to get a poboy at Dolly's Deli near City Park. TCL spent the first half-hour of our Dolly's visit sleeping in the car. But after purging himself of the rest of Saturday's bad stuff, he bounced back.

An hour or so at Dave's and we headed back to Kenner and called a cab for our trip down to the Dome. The scene around the Superdome was wild, with LSU and Oklahoma fans all over the place (many more than the 79,000 who got inside).

After seeing the lines to get past security outside the Dome (a security perimeter was set up outside, so getting past security did not equal getting in the building), we decided we'd best start our entry process at about 5:15 (for a 7 p.m. game). Just over an hour later, it was our turn to empty our pockets and get a good wanding from a camo-clad member of the U.S. Air Force.

There was no way anybody was getting dangerous metal objects into the game. And, thankfully for the safety of the crowd, the plastic water bottles full of Maker's Mark we did sneak into the game were not full of the highly-flammable 101 Wild Turkey we left in my trunk.

Our bottles could have been filled with C-4, gasoline or other dangerous, non-metal stuff, and that would have been a problem if TCL and I were, in fact, terrorists. Of course, we are not, but we were forced to endure an hour's worth of wanding of other non-terrorists who also probably got into the game with contraband that happened to not be made of metal.

See, it's pointless. But you feel safer knowing I got that wanding, don't you?

So we get inside and sit down - smack dab in the middle of the Oklahoma section. And I mean SMACK DAB. But we actually enjoyed being in the midst of the OU crowd. I sang "Okie from Muscogee" during the OU alma mater, shouted "Boomer ... Esiason" along with their "Boomer ... Sooner" chant and generally (in a good-natured way) harassed the OU folks around us. And, as at the SEC Championship, we made $30 off a bet with a fan from the other side.

If you saw the game, you don't need me to explain it to you. And if you didn't see the game, you're not reading this anyway. I did, of course, see Jessica Simpson in the flesh. Our seats were not close enough to tell whether Jessica really was on Accutane, however.

And I have to say the Sooner fans were damn good fans. Passionate but friendly, unlike the jackass fans of Florida, Tennessee, Miami, etc. I had at least a dozen Sooner fans say "congratulations" throughout the night after the game.

When the game ended, we were - of course - pretty damn happy. I don't mind saying it was a pretty emotional thing watching my Tigers celebrate winning the national championship down on the field in front of us.

We finally made our way out of the Dome and waded into the unreal atmosphere Downtown. Thousands of LSU fans all feeling the same as TCL and I, heading toward the Quarter to celebrate in our city. High fives all around, joyous disbelief on many faces. I'd been trying to set up a place for us to hook up with Dave, his brother and another friend when I turned the corner from Canal Street to Bourbon Street and nearly ran right in to Dave his own self. Obviously, everything was going our way Sunday.

Another 2 hours or so of drinking and wandering, and we called it a night. Home by 2:30, in bed by 3. By about that time, the reality had set in. LSU, National Champions. Of football, even.

It would have been nice to not drive back to Atlanta on Monday, but we had no choice there. The trip back took about 90 minutes longer, thanks to a constant drizzle, more stops for food and pee breaks and my right-rear tire blowing out in a fabulous display of burning rubber in the middle of Alabama. Maybe the wife was right that I should have gotten that slow leak fixed before the trip.

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