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New Orleans-Just A Game?

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7:24 p.m. Jan. 15---The snow was falling like Super Bowl confetti this afternoon as I drove from the West Side of Chicago to Evanston--I guess that counts as a road trip.
During an early afternoon segment on sports talk WSCR-AM in Chicago two hosts declared that this Sunday's NFC Championship game between the Bears and the New Orleans Saints means nothing to the cultural welfare of New Orleans. "Its just a game," said Dan, with his Howdy Doody partner typically mimicking his statement. "Nothing will change the fact that New Orleans will become the Atlantic City of the South." These guys are always bitter pills to swallow. Dan and Terry took sports talk to a real low a couple of years ago when they made fun of the fact that Chicago Cubs great Ron Santo had lost both his legs to diabetes. Real funny stuff. This tells you about their negative frame of mind.
The positive culture of sports can be found outside their studio door. The 1990s success of Michael Jordan and the Bulls shifted the stereotype of Chicago from 1930s gangsters to a contemporary air of showtime typically seen in Los Angeles and New York. The Bulls still lead the NBA in attendance, which is amazing for a 22-17 team. Chicago is ramping up its bid for the 2016 Olympics by pointing out that it has a NFL franchise -unlike its bidding rival Los Angeles. And the fact that Chicago has two full-time sports talk radio stations that employ hundreds of people says that Sunday's match-up might be a little more than "just a game," just in a business sense.
This is what I know about New Orleans and its beloved Saints.....

1. The Saints were awarded an NFL franchise on Nov. 1, 1966.
New Orleans was hardly a rainbow gumbo in 1966 and 1967, when the Saints began play. The Detroit-New Orleans Stars of baseball's Negro Leagues did not even disband until 1961. Professional football united people in the Gulf Coast region.
The Saints were much more than a game.
"Bringing pro football to the City of New Orleans in the 1960s was an accomplishment beyond the economic impact of a professional franchise," said Dr. Norman Francis, president of Xavier University in a 1991 Saints yearbook I picked up at the Superdome. "Integration was very much an issue in the South. The league had to be satisfied that its black athletes would be accepted in our community." Francis was a member of the Saints' initial ownership syndicate. As racial conflicts of the mid-1960s divided other American cities, New Orleanians worked together to bring the Saints into the NFL fold.
2. The Saints are the Cubs of the NFL.
Sunday's game would be a feel good story beyond the obvious circumstances of Katrina. The Saints have always been my second favorite NFL team to the Bears. This is the 'Aints first trip to a championship game. In 1991 the Saints President/General Manager was Jim Finks. In 1984 Finks was the Cubs president when they won the N.L. East. The Saints even had its own version of the Cubs 1960s College of Coaches. In 1972 former Apollo astronaut Dick Gordon (not the former Bears receiver) was named Executive Vice-President of the Saints. He had no football experience. His "mission" was to instill military efficiency in the front office. Of course, his mission failed.
3. The Saints are the only major sport in New Orleans.
In the 2004 NFL season that preceded Katrina, New Orleans' 23.5 rating was the second highest market for the Fox network -only Milwaukee scored higher. The Saints are simply a way of life. In 1983 New Orleans soul legend Aaron Neville recorded the single "Who Dat?" (The History of the Saints)," a hip-hop version of "When The Saints Go Marching In." In 1985 a bunch of Bears players who couldn't sing and dance recorded "The Super Bowl Shuffle."
The NBA's New Orleans Hornets are still playing most home games in Oklahoma City and baseball's Zephyrs are a member of the Pacific Coast League---believe it or not. The Saints have always been the only major sport in New Orleans. Before Archie Manning made his mark in New Orleans, Saints fans embraced grungy quarterback Billy "Whiskey" Kilmer, who loved to hang out at The Old Absinthe House, my favorite dive on Bourbon Street. The great 6'8" Bears defensive end Doug Atkins ended his career as a Saint and Guido Merkens tried to jump start his career as a Saint. The Saints even once had a player named Remi Prudhomme.
4. I've been to New Orleans twice since Hurricane Katrina. The first visit was three months after the storm and I returned in April, 2006 for the 37th Annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Due to hotel and transportation limitations, Jazz Fest '06 was pretty much a local affair.
I saw Gulf Coast residents respond to music with a ragged collage of smiles and tears. If a song could take them somewhere else for a few moments, it was more than "just a song." If Saturday night's resolve of the Saints' Deuce McAllister dragging a bunch of players into the end zone becomes a willful metaphor for just one fan, then it is more than "just a game."
In January, 1986 I spent a week in New Orleans doing color stories for the Sun-Times when the Bears played New England in Super Bowl XX. I was dispatched to Louisiana at the last minute and did not have a place to stay. I was supposed to crash on the floor of some sportswriter in suburban New Orleans. Most of Team Sun Times had already landed: the gentleman columnist Ray Sons, lead writer Ron Rapoport, sportswriters Toni Ginnetti and Dan Pompei. My pal Ernie Tucker was sent down on the City of New Orleans train with a bunch of drunken Bears fans. I got off the plane and went straight to my first story, a sit-down with Mustapha, the mellow assistant curator of the New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum. He was designing tiny Patriot and Bears voodoo dolls when I dropped in.
After the interview Mustapha said he knew of an extra room in a small French Quarter hotel. I will never forget walking down sunny Bourbon Street with Mustapha. I wore some type of lumpy jean jacket and carried a Radio Shack computer. Mustapha was dressed in a black pinstriped suit with a matching fedora accented by a bright yellow plume. Even by mid-day Bourbon Street standards, we looked weird in a Midnight Cowboy way. But he found time to close up shop and lend a helping hand. New Orleans is still full of such surprises, which is why its still early to make a call on the city's future. No one would have bet that the Saints would be in this year's NFC championship game. They lost 13 games last season.
In sports, despair begets hope, pain grows into solace. I think of myself as a hard core sports fan and try to keep things in perspective; like not calling sports talk shows and maintaining this "just a game" deal. But it is the transcending moments of humanity that endure; the triumphs of Ron Santo, the social conscience of Muhammad Ali, the comforting smile of Buck O'Neil.
After the Saints victory on Saturday, New Orleans head coach Sean Payton walked around the Superdome and shook hands with fans. Of course that's a small form of connection that cynics might mock. But I'll remember that scene. Connections lead to community, which New Orleans is still struggling to find. And, outside the Gulf Coast, America continues to become an impersonal landscape of text messages, computers and downloads. A game is something we can still identify. A game is who we are. And in its best moments it is who we can be.

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The Saints are an inspiration to everyone here. They prove to us that with hard work and team work, the impossible can happen. New Orleanians face the impossible everyday, but continue to move ahead to an uncertain future one day at a time. Thank you Saints!

I wish you all the best of luck---maybe not this Sunday---but thereafter. See you at Jazz Fest!!!--Dave

Dear Mr Hoekstra, Thank you so much for your article. This special Saints season has done wonders for our spirits here in New Orleans. When your city looks like post war Germany or Iraq , and you were destroyed by the equivalent of "friendly fire" in the forms of Army Corps negligence, and news reports when they happen are wrong, insurance is sky high, and so forth, those of us committed to stay and tough it out need bright spots. The psychological lift this city has received from what may well be the classiest coach and team with the most solid character in all of professional sports has been miraculous.

Thank you Michele. Good luck down the road!

Great article. You gave it "feel," which is what the Saints have given to our displaced gulf coast. I thought I was the only one talking about that McCallister, push-pull-drag-don't quit score (I counted seven players helping him into the end zone in slow-mo). Good metaphor on what this region needs to do for recovery. No, it's not "just a game." Thanks.

Thanks Charles. I won't forget that image. I'm old enough to remember AFL warriors like the old Oakland Raider center Jim Otto.....Take care, Dave

Thanks for your inspiring words. You got it right, it is so much more than 'just a game'. The Saints have given this city a much needed lift...a respite from the daily drags of getting this city back.

I'll be in your city on Sunday cheering the Saints on. I'm looking forward to the trip! Thanks again for your sentiment.

Copied from a saints fan site.

A football game can't stop hurricanes.

It can't fix levees.

Or rebuild houses.

But it can let a city know...

That it's a city once again.

Welcome back, New Orleans.

Dear Mr. Hoekstra,

You obviously know what it means to miss New Orleans.

I believe most citizens of the United States understand our difficulties. Unfortunately, too many in the media miss it. But you get it. Thanks.

Although I have no official power, I hereby pronounce you a New Orleanian. You are welcome here always.

I will take you up on it at the Milan Lounge!

Hey Dave,

Oh! The Raiders of yesteryears! How about the mad bomber Darrel LaMonica! George Blanda kicking field goals and coming off the bench to quarterback the team to a comeback victory! Curt Gowdy with the call in that funny looking TV color of the 1970's! Man, those were the days when kids from Chicago had to root for winning team instead of the Bears of the Abe Gibron era!
By the way, next Sunday: Bears 24, Saints 13

Thanks for a wonderful article. It IS more than just a game to us. What this coach and team have done for us cannot be expressed in mere words. These Saints are our hopes and our dreams - they make us BELIEVE we can do anything. Yes, I know people are tired of hearing about Katrina. Well, we're tired of living it and the Saints have been our beautiful escape! This team and this city will win!!!

I can't begin to thank you enough for this. I think that sports journalists seem to "get" New Orleans more than all of the rest of that brotherhood from the rest of Out There.

See you at the Absinthe House some day. Drinks on me.

Thanks Mark.
I believe Kilmer's jersey still hangs above the bar? Not sure, but I know Saints helmets hang above the bar.
Take care, Dave

Bless you, Dave. I wish more Americans "got it" the way you get it.

Thank you for your article and for understanding. Most of the country still does not understand the struggle of everyday life down here. So many people have lost everything, EVERYTHING. The insurance companies, the government, FEMA...try to imagine it. Yes, it may only be a game, but the New Orleans Saints are part of our community and they understand what a "win" can do for someone who has nothing else but hope.

Believe me, so much was lost that we appreciate anything that was not washed away forever! Thanks!

Well put, sir. Good luck, Dave

Thanks for the article.

I'm a DePaul professor who can't handle the winters, so I live in New Orleans, and commute. And believe me, I do NOT have divided loyalties.

The Saints are the only place where we've seen leadership in this city, and we're reveling in it.

It may be just a game to Chicagoans (and that's perfectly fine), but at this point, it's hard to determine where the Saints end and the city begins.

Thanks for thinking of us.

Good point on leadership---Sean Payton being a Chicago guy (we went to the same high school; beloved Naperville Central). Thanks, Dave!

Thank you for your article. I'm wondering if you have read the writing of Randy Shaw at
His article claims that the Saints have no effect on the spirits of New Orleanians. It made me appreciate what you have to say even more. Thanks for supporting us -- when others fight for us, it helps us to keep fighting for ourselves.
I'm calling for him to retract his hurtful and pessimistic article, and would appreciate you and your readers support!

Thank you so much for a positive article. We are getting so much negative press about our city - sometimes we start believing it. The Saints are for real and so is New Orleans!

The only thing I was looking forward to after Katrina was watching the NEW ORLEANS SAINTS.
All the players have dealt with the same uncertainty as the locals. The guys new on the team live in this post-katrina town of one store still closed and the other priced high cause the next good store is three miles down the road in some cirmcumstances. The team wants to see a four decade losing stint come to an end as well beat all the odds that people still have, after all we made it to the NFC Championship.
For me to be able to go in the superdome and see a superbowl pennant would get my vote for the best thing that could happen to New Orleans. I love this city, it is back. Yall come down n visit.
Sincerely, Wes from NOLA.
Ps. WHO DAT!!!

Loved your article!
I'm a lifelong Saints fan and a born and raised in the Crescent City, displaced now in what seems like a foreign town on the east coast. I guess Cubs fans understand the longtime suffering of Saints faithful...
But for the team to turn it around now, when the city so needs something--ANYTHING--positive, well, forgive me for seeming corny, but it's miraculous.
Who Dat?, I Believe, and Bless Dem Boys. The Saints have answered a lot of prayers.

Dear Dave,

Thanks for such a real perspective of what the Saints mean to us. You get it. We have 4 way stop signs because traffic lights are still broken. The Saints have done so much to lift our spirits. In all the B.S. with FEMA, the state, the Corps of Engineers, lack of schools, hospitals, thing brings a smile to everyone....our beloved Saints. Thank you for getting that message to everyone. They are more than a football team to us.

P.S. To copy from Dave earlier, We wish you all the best of luck---maybe not this Sunday---but thereafter.

Dave, you are telling it like it is. Our Saints have been our only source of hope for the past six months. Bless them boys. But, I gotta tell you, I'm worried about my post-Superbowl city.

Dear Dave,
That article was great. So unlike the comments of your Senator as i found his comments extremely tasteless. New Orleans is playing Chicago because they are one of the best 2 teams in the NFC. To call New Orleans "A fairy tale story that ends in Chicago" is slap in the face to the Saints and of all of the people in Louisiana. As far as i'm concerned he can shove his fake sympathy ...... I sure hope that article made its way to the locker room of the players of the Saints. I am originally from Bloomington, Indiana and have rooted for Rex and have been dismayed on how he has been criticized. Anyway I just know that this is going to be a great game and I think the 2 teams are very evenly matched snd know that whoever wins will represent the NFC well, unlike your senator.

Sincerely, Greg Walls

Go Mr. Hoekstra! Go Saints! Go New Orleans! Go Louisiana! Captian Kirk knew what it was to never allow impossibilities to cloud his determination. In the USA you can will anything to happen. The Saints are a real team, they are the most refreshing thing that has happened to professional sports in quite sometime. It may very well be that destiny is controlled by what you believe in truly and what you are willing to do about it. Cheers to you and your continued observations! Gene Joanen, Folsom Louisiana.

If you live(d) in New Orleans you'd understand just how much the Saints have meant to us. After returning to a city (after the evacuation) devastated by Katrina you realize how everything has changed. Your childhood memories can never be rekindled because the places you grew up in are gone. The people you knew and grew up with are gone. Your house is gone. At that same time to add insult to injury the owner of the NFL team you've grown up with and followed for 40 years wants to move the team to San Antonio. No one believes in you or your hometown. Thankfully the NFL convinces the owner to give the city (and surrounding areas) a chance and returns the team to New Orleans. The fans respond by selling out the season. This was a chance to retain a small portion of what used to be part of your 'life' and your memories. For the Saints to respond by playing so well chokes us all up more than can be put into words. THEY believe in us. Thank you for the article.

Thanks for celebrating the spirit of the rebirth of a great American city -- a great world city.

If only we could get Sean Payton as our mayor instead of Nagin! Alas, getting to the Superbowl, no small feat if we do, is looking more promising than rebuilding our city.

I'm getting the idea that Dan and Terry ought to be taken off the air. I'm really sick of people like that insulting our moral sensibilities with off-color humor. They ought to be forced to keep it to urinal conversation, not on our public airwaves.

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! You do get it! We are trying to SURVIVE, as Katrina affected ALL living in and around New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. Our SAINTS have truly been saints to all over the entire area. We do believe!


I truly enjoyed reading your column and hope that you will return to NOLA more and more, as each passing day she gets just a little bit better.

I thought you might enjoy this poem that was written about NOLA and the Saints.

Our Saints, Our City, Our Soul:

Out of the fire
And up from the flood
A great team is born
Made of guts, steel and blood

Their history a low one
No one can deny
Their new rise a slow one
But, oh, now so high

This team that I speak of
Is of black and gold
And travels the gridiron
So brave and so bold

Their symbol is royalty
We call Fleur de lis
And proud New Orleanians
Watch it with glee

Come Deuce and come Reggie
Come Drew and come Joe
Come Marques and Terrance
Now go beat the foe

The course is set plainly
There is clearly a goal
Go show all the world
A storm canĀ¹t kill our soul

To the men in black jerseys
The tights and the cleats
Know that we love you
In wins and defeats

And to you, Sean Payton
The coach of our dreams
Thank you from all of us
Who give jumps, yells and screams

You have given us purpose
You have given us hope
You have given us will
And a reason to cope

To all of the Saints
Who reside in the Dome
Thanks for making our city
A proud place to call home.

Thank you
Phil Mayeaux

Thank you for the wonderful article. I guess it doesn't matter if people outside of Louisiana "get it". As long as we "get it", I think thats all that really matters.


The Saints have NOT always been the only major sports franchise in New Orleans. The Utah Jazz started in New Orleans with Pistol Pete Maravich as it's star. Maybe the writer is too young to know that. He probably dosen't know that the ABA New Orleans Buccaneers were also here before the NBA ABA merger. Again he's probably too young to know that. Or maybe he just does terrible research. Don't forget the Hornets made the playoffs their first season in town.

Yeah, the Jazz was so major league successful they moved to Salt Lake City of all places---the Un-New Orleans.
I know how Larry Brown and Doug Moe were charter members of the Bucs (weren't one of the Bucs owners the late Morton Downey,Jr?) and I saw the bearded Rich Kelley and Truck Robinson play for the Jazz at the Chicago Stadium.
I'm the oldest blogger in America. Be safe---Dave

You're article hit the sensitive chord that resonates with all New Orleanians who are trying to bring New Orleans back. The Saints are more than a wonderful metaphor for that effort, they have sought and succeeded in being a part of the comeback. As one who has always followed the Saints with interest and occasionlly attended games, I considered my enthusiasm for the team as an engaging pastime. And as a season ticket holder this year for the first time, I bought the tickets to support keeping the Saints here and for a kind of existential escapism from difficult times. Now, the pastime has become a passion filled with hope and foreboding (what if they should lose). I've become the type of exuberant fan I always wondered about. I believe this transformation has occurred throughout New Orleans and as well with those in far away places who understand the indeterminate odds of life, the pluck to survive and the willingness to work for what you believe in. And most assuredly, the team has internalized this paradigm for action and brought psychic relief and pure joy to our city. Your column is truely music to our ears.

Thank you, this is a very eloquent take
Best of luck down the road---Dave

Oh, I "get it" alright. I've been in love with New Orleans and the Saints for the last ten years, and let me tell you, the success of the Saints is most definitely effecting not only the current residents of New Orleans, but also the tourism industry to follow.

Last weekend, my once-Detroit fan boyfriend, and two of our close friends took a spur of the moment, 36 hour round trip road trip from Detroit to New Orleans, purely because I could think of nothing that would bring me more joy then to watch such a monumental game in one of my old local bars, with the rest of the die hard Saints fans. Football game aside, they were curious to see how New Orleans was really doing. I went down to cheer on my team. They went down to get drunk.

"Getting it," got the better of them though, not even four hours into our arrival. You could just feel "it" in the air. Soon, my three cohorts were searching frantically for Saints jerseys, hats, and memorabilia. After listening to the stories, watching us win the game, seeing the pure joy on the faces of the locals, all of us dancing in the streets, with the loud choruses of "WHO DAT THINKIN DEY BEATIN DEM SAINTS! WHO DAT!" on every corner, in every bar- they swear they will never be the same.

New Orleans gave me "it" in return for a piece of my heart ten years ago, so I know exactly how they feel. I think a little more is stolen each time we all visit - just enough to hold us until next time. And "next time," is all we have talked about. Baby steps yes, but this one road trip, this one game, has got a sizable chunk of metro Detroit looking for the next best deal to the Crescent City.

As for me, I am trying desperately to find a few Saints fans to watch the game with this weekend. I'll be traveling to Chicago to show support for my Saints, and I'd much rather be doing it surrounded by cheering Saints fans, not a bar full of glaring Bears fans. Don't get me wrong. I love Chicago and the Cubs are my favorite ball team. I even like the Bears - just not when they are playing my home team. GEAUX SAINTS!

Great Road Trip Story!
FYI for all out there before Sunday;
A small contingent of displaced New Orleans residents and Chicago/Saints fans will be watching on big screen at FitzGerald's roadhouse, 6615 W. Roosevelt Rd. in Berwyn; about 15 minutes from downtown Chicago (on a Sunday)---Dave

When I was 10 (35 years ago) I learned NO was built below sea level and that the potential existed that a hurricane could wipe out the city. Despite this, the city always revelled in this "danger" and was always part of the "charm". Well I've been there and I must say NO is the most disgusting town I've ever been to - and that includes trips to India. What happened to the town was a tragedy but please don't suggest it was completely unexpected. There are safer cities to live.

"Howdy doody partner" - that is priceless. You nailed it there. Terry Boers has been stealing a paycheck for quite some time now. I dare anyone to listen and find an original thought by Boers. Let us hope what Schroeder wrote is true....get them (or atleast Boers) off the air.

Dave, Thanks for the article. Nearly a year and a half has passed since the storm pretty much washed us away. Close to 85% of the population of St.Bernard Parish is no longer living there. And we watch our great goverment continue to give money, food and god knows what else to Iraq, on top of our soldiers giving up their lives. It seems they have bigger business to handle right here. But you know what? We have the New Orleans Saints. They help us get through the day. They are our hope that things will someday get back to normal. Things will never be the same again. The NFL, the Siants, and everyone involved in everything that has helped turn things around this season has lifted all of us. I've been a Saints fan since I was seven years old. I was playing pee wee football and Tom Dempsey came to our field. I remember his field goal. I was hooked. When I couldn't watch them on television, I listened to them on the radio. My dad thought I was crazy. A true die hard at ten. My dad always told me that the world would come to an end before the Saints would make it to a championship. Well on August 29th, 2005, our world did come to an end. I guess that means one thing. THE SAINTS ARE COMING!!!!!!!!!

Tom Dempsey---53 yards, right?

Dear Dave,
Thanks for your story. As a New New Orleanian, you might want to consider covering Mardi Gras 2007 as a sporting event. You and your (new) fellow citizens can meet at the Milan Lounge where we will limber you up with jello shots and King Cake to get you in shape for 12 days of Carnival.
Afterwards, you can stay for Lent and cover it as a sort of metaphorical Spring Training. The weather will be nice and when you aren't writing you can help us rebuild in any number of ways.
By the time the last Easter Parade rolls, baseball should be back in Chicago. Then you can go home and break the news, ever so gently, that the same people responsible for flooding New Orleans are also responsible for keeping Lake Michigan out of your lap.
You can distribute T-Shirts (which we will provide) proclaiming, "Hold the Corps. accountable" and organize your own levee wall walkers.
In the meantime, congratulations on becoming a New Orleanian and Geaux Saints!

Thank you, Dave!

There is a bond between the players and the city like no other team! Drew Brees and Scott Fujita definitely identify with people who felt forgotten or cast off.


Your understanding is so appreciated. The saints have become a great distraction from insurance adjusters, FEMA SBA, LRA and the daily debris and devastation which remains of our previous lives. The notion, that it is just a game can be easily rebuked by seeing the 70,000 plus fans in September during the Saints home opener and barely a dry eye among them. The saints have uplifted the spirits and heavy hearts of the hundreds of thousands who were devastated across Louisiana and Mississippi and who still struggle daily. I think it may be hard for the rest of the country to understand this because they really don't understand what has occurred here---how bad it was and the sheer magnitude...but our Saints do! Bless them boys!

this loss really hurts. Not just in the heart, but in the wallet. We really needed the business. So I hope Chicago fans will come and visit, and enjoy our music, architecture, food and fun. Please visit us for Mardi Gras!

You are correct Sue, and for Jazz Fest!
Love New Orleans--didn't care for Reggie Bush's little stunt, though.---Take care and good luck, Dave

Thank you for a wonderful article! After the comments we heard post-game Sunday from many, many Chicago fans, it's nice to know Chicago is not completely full of soulless sub-humans. The behavior they displayed after the Bears' win Sunday was stunning. Saying things like we're going to "finish what Katrina started" and throwing food and beer at women and children shows real class. I guess watching children and the elderly die and then be left to rot was something our city deserved. And a bunch of drunken Chicago-ans can sit so mightily judging that these people deserved it. I guess New York and Washington deserved 9/11 too. I hope a catastrophe of this magnitude never hits the people of Chicago. I for one won't be jumping up and down to help. Maybe they are doing something to "deserve it".

Just want to write in and say what a classless town you guys are!! What was suppose to be fun and exciting you guys turned it in to a horrible experience for our Saints fans. The signs that were directed at us was classless and disgusting. "We will finish what Katrina started" What the F@#$ was that! That was the lowest of lows. Also, people has to turn their Saints jackets inside out just to leave the stadium! Pushing and shoving them at the concession stands, taunting them and a few reporting getting hit. Nice city you guy have! GROW UP, its a game! I hope the Colts kick the crap out of you guys.

Dat Dave,
I believe with all my heart that the only threat to the first amendment protecting free speech might be sports talk radio. Often, I'll listen in shear wonder that I've just seen a game that is being described entirely different than what I saw happen. Amazing! If you have a gift to tell a story, you can simply watch it happen and tell it. If you can be loud, obnoxious, and intellectually delayed, you can be a sports host who considers it your responsibility to stoke the other team. As a famous gulf coaster once said, "Stupid is as stupid does".
I am really moved by the response of the people from New Orleans. My wife and I honeymooned there in 1983. We're going back in 2008 for our 25th anniversary. The Monteleone survived and so has the sprit of the Big Easy. "Ain't no levee weak enough....."

Take her to the Dungeon on Toulouse.
You'll be fired up for another 25 years!
Your pal, Dave


Someone should have warned you about Bears games. These people are not representative of Chicagoans...honest! For the most part they are drunk, angry, and just want to spend 3 hours abusing anyone who isn't drunk like them and cheering on the Bears. There's a reason the SNL "super fans" skits are so funny - this is exactly how Bears fans talk. Completely obnoxious. If you want more proof, just tune into sports radio in Chicago. I had partials season tickets and I gave them up once my son was old enough to go. I wouldn't dare expose him to this sort of environment.

Its called caps lock, turn it off. You've had 18 months, quit whining about the hurricane already. If you would like people to listen to your point of view, you might want to try posting a coherent statement. That storm was the best thing that ever happened to that region. Now maybe people will learn not to live in a town thats 6 ft below sea level.


I'm sorry you're such a sad human being. I'm sorry you think 18 months is enough for a city to rebuild. And I'm sorry that you decided to share your anger and senseless hatred on a public forum. "Maybe now people will learn not to live in a town that's 6 ft below sea level" is such a ridiculously clueless statement, showing your lack of education and lack of grace.

Chicago is my town, and I love it more than any other. New Orleanians love their town, too. They are fighting to pick up and move on. Let's hope we don't have to go through what they went through, and then shortly after watch scores of classless, ignorant doofs make jokes and brush us off.

I just want to say that I am a victim of Hurricane Katrina now living in Aurora and I am truly disgusted by some of the insensitive comments that were made in this posting. I am originally from Aurora and moved to New Orleans when I was 11. I loved New Orleans and all it stood for. The people are always friendly and hospitable. We have lost our entire lives and everything that we knew in one storm and should not be tormented by unruly Chicago fans. Everyday is a constant reminder of what can happen in an instance and life is too short to hurt people unnecessarily with foolish comments. God forbid something as serious as Katrina would happen in the MidWest. What would you do?????Think about it. It's no fun having to start life over from scratch when you are 36 years old.


You wrote an article on Joe's Sausage place on Western. I often visited the place but it appears the shop is no longer there. Do you know where it has gone to. Thanks.

Marie Rafik

Hi! I'll try to find out, I drive by and see it is closed.
Perhaps he retired....Dave

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Dave Hoekstra

Dave Hoekstra has been a Chicago Sun-Times staff writer since 1985. His collection of Sun-Times travel columns, "Ticket To Everywhere," was published in 2000 by Lake Claremont Press. He was lead writer for "Farm Aid: Song for America" (Rodale Press, 2005) which commemorated the 20th anniversary of the Willie Nelson inspired effort.
He won a 1987 Chicago Newspaper Guild Stick O-Type Award for Column Writing. Hoekstra wrote and co-proudced the WTTW-Channel 11 PBS special: "The Staple Singers and the Civil Rights Movement," nominated for a 2001-02 Chicago Emmy for a documentary program/cultural significance.
He lives in Chicago.


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