Before you read the Mark Lorando article below let me do a bit of stage setting. Bacchus is one of the big weekend before Mardi Gras Parades. Bacchus has a history of having celebrity kings. Drew Brees was chosen as monarch way before the Saints won the SuperBowl. He was chosen because he embodies what is best about us all. Football was just the mechanism to bring him to our and the world's attention. His work off the football field and his ambassadorship for New Orleans was why the Bacchus organization wanted him regardless of how the Saints season ended. “Truthfully, we’re not honoring Drew for his accomplishments on the football field,” Brennan said. “His philanthropy, what he does for children…he’s an incredible ambassador for New Orleans. He’s a pillar of our community. You could not pick a better man in the city of New Orleans to be the king of Bacchus."
Even though the 2010 SuperBowl broadcast was watched by more people than ever before, if you aren't in the Gulf South you probably have no idea what the Saints winning the Superbowl means to this region. Maybe the article below will help those of you who live outside the region to begin to understand. And, during the end of the "God Year", maybe it will help you to appreciate the power of Myth and Symbols.
If the Mardi Gras Nation had more time to talk, here's what we would tell Bacchus as he passes
Sunday, February 14, 2010 By Mark Lorando Staff writer
This is what he will hear:
"Drewwwwww!!! Ohmygod!!! Ohmygod!!! Right here, Drew!!! I'm open!!! Throw me something, Drew!!! I love you, Drewwwwww!!! Who Dat, Baby!!! Will you marry me, Drew?!?!?!? I know you're married, so am I. We can work that out!!! Really!!! My husband won't mind, he's got a crush on you, too!!! Drewwwwww!!! Drewwwwww!!! Ohmygod, did you see that?!?!?!? He threw it right to me!!! You da man, Drewwwwww!!!"
But that's not exactly what the Who Dats on the parade route want to say.
It's hard to be eloquent when a float is rolling past. So little time, so much pressure -- you wait seven hours on a curb in the hopes of catching something, anything, directly from the hand of Super Bowl XLIV MVP and Bacchus 2010 Drew Brees. How can you possibly be expected to get his attention AND snag a flying doubloon AND put everything you're feeling into words in just a few, fleeting seconds?
You can't. So Drew is going to have to read between the lines. He's going to have to know that when we say all of that, what we really want to tell him is this:
Thank you for bringing your broken shoulder to town and rebuilding yourself right alongside us.
Thank you for teaching us how to finish strong.
Thank you for always facing adversity with your shoulders back, your head up, your upper lip stiff, your eyes on fire.
Thank you for giving us Feb. 7 to ease the pain of Aug. 29.
Thank you for reminding every woman in New Orleans, and Katie Couric, how it feels to have a schoolgirl crush. (Katie, sweetheart, we know he's a dreamboat, but try not to be so obvious next time.)
Thank you for making your beautiful family part of our beautiful city. So many star athletes parachute in for the season and catch the first flight out. You put down roots. That means a lot to us. It makes you one of us.
One suggestion: The next time you play in the Super Bowl (Feb. 6, 2011, in Dallas, see you there!), have Brittany and Baylen watch the game on the sideline on a Mardi Gras ladder. Every time you get flushed out of the pocket, he can scream, "Throw me something, Daddy!"
How cool would that be?
If we're going to go to the Super Bowl every year, we might as well give it a little New Orleans flavor.
Remember how you felt when you held Baylen in your arms after the Super Bowl? How you held him close and saw all of your hopes and dreams for the future in his little face and you cried?
Well, that's how the Who Dat Nation feels when we look at you. You are a son of New Orleans now. In you we see the best of ourselves, and a future filled with possibilities, and a pride that moves us to tears, too.
This is the part the national media always gets wrong. They see us crying, and they think it's because you have "given the people of New Orleans a reason to feel good about themselves."
If we heard that once last week, we heard it a hundred times.
But that's not it at all. We've always felt good about ourselves. New Orleans is home to some of the most fascinating, fun-loving, hard-working, resilient, creative, smart, sexy, generous, loving, tolerant people on the planet. We have some of the richest culinary, musical, artistic and architectural traditions in the world. What's not to feel good about? Do Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest look like events organized by people with an inferiority complex?
We celebrate ourselves from January to December. What we have needed is someone worthy to represent us. Someone the rest of the world can associate with New Orleans who is not on the way to jail, hell or an NFL Films blooper reel.
The national symbols of New Orleans have too often been laughingstocks and losers. We've always known we deserved better.
That's why we get choked up. Not because we don't think we deserve you. Because we know how much we deserve each other.
So, like we said: Thank you. For representing. And for allowing us to go completely overboard about you. We know that nobody could be as good as we're making you out to be right now. But we've been a little bit hero-deprived around here lately. If it's not too uncomfortable up there, we'd like to keep you on the pedestal a little while longer.
And one last thing, Drew.
You know that fistful of black-and-gold doubloons you're holding? Right here, big boy. Come to papa. The game is on the line and I'm Jeremy Shockey. Cock that golden arm and let 'em fly. Put them where you've put everything since the day you hit town:
Right in the sweet spot.
. . . . . . .
Features editor Mark Lorando can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 504.826.3430. Comment and read more at NOLA.com/living.