New Orleans is and always has been full of characters. Buddy Diliberto was one of them. He was a local sports caster who once claimed that if the Saints made it to the SuperBowl he'd wear a dress on Bourbon Street. Buddy died in January 2005.
Last Sunday thousands of men, most straight, but I'm sure some gay, danced in drag down Bourbon street in his honor and in honor of the fact that the Saints made it to the Superbowl. So that's:
- years of sports casting by a local character,
- a Win in the last playoff game of the football 2009 season the Sunday before,
- one week for, Bobby Hebert the guy to who took over for Buddy D (and who probably had a good deal to do with the original reasons Buddy D made the off hand comment) to plan a parade resulting in thousands of people on the street , mostly straight men in drag.
There are more than a few theories floating around about why 5 years after his death people remembered his promise and followed through en mass.
"He's the connection people have to when they were younger, watching the games with their dad or grandpa," he said. "There are all these people whose parents lived through all the bad times but died before this day finally came. Buddy connects to all of them, because he was there from the very beginning. He's the common thread."
But I think another reason is that New Orleanians understand the importance of honoring the ancestors and maintaining the link to those on the other side. It is just a part of who we are and what we do here, naturally. We celebrate death with our Jazz Funerals and we celebrate the dead. Granted in unique ways. Last weekend Bourbon Street was one big offering on the collective New Orleans Lare Shrine for Buddy D.