The Marks Post: Bourbon, beads, and football
For the first time in 12 years, the New Orleans Saints host the Philadelphia Eagles in the divisional round of the playoffs. I was there the last time both teams matched up against each other in the postseason in 2007, but the story of how I got there begins about a year or so before then.
Not long after I first started working full-time at the Evangeline Parish Clerk of Court office in 2005, I was working in the file room alongside Jannie Guidry and the late (or as he would say “défunt”) J.L. Brignac. The file room was where we kept original recordings of sales, mortgages, and mineral leases and original civil and probate records.
My main job was to scan the newly recorded documents as they came in and to backscan the old conveyance and mortgage records. Thrilling, I know.
Another part of my job was to help the people coming in find their records and make copies for them. It was through shadowing J.L. in this aspect of the job that I learned most of my people skills. But, I digress.
Anyway, most of the people going in and out of the office at that time were oil and gas abstractors doing the research work before companies would lease property. That was the time when Pine Prairie Energy Company was getting online and when oil and gas work was prevalent throughout the parish.
The file room was also where these abstractors made their copies, so I got to get to know a lot of them pretty well because of that. Among them were Rex Edwards from Opelousas and Jim and Doreen Youngflesh from Effie.
Rex would come in with his son Charles and Randy McDaniel. They were big sports fans and especially baseball fans. Like Mike Mills, also an abstractor from Opelousas, Rex and Charles were big Dodgers fans.
Jim was originally from Indiana and married a considerably younger Doreen who was originally from Avoyelles Parish. They, too, were big sports fans. One thing we all had in common with Rex, Charles, and Randy was how big LSU fans we were.
That leads me to the next part of the story.
In January 2007, LSU played Notre Dame in the Allstate Sugar Bowl in the Superdome. Charles got tickets and asked me to go with him. It turned out Jim and Doreen were also going.
Charles and I stayed the weekend at his sister Emily’s condo across St. Peter’s from Harrah’s Casino. Emily worked for the Saints and new coach Sean Payton and General Manager Mickey Loomis well. She was dating and ended up marrying somebody from Detroit whose family was involved in the shipping industry.
The condo had a balcony overlooking Harrah’s, and they had a pet Labradoodle. Needless to say, the condo was fancy. But, again, I digress.
On the evening before the game, Charles and I met up with Jim and Doreen and, of course, ended up on Bourbon Street. The street, as usual for these types of events, was packed with people. And, as usual, beads were flying all about over head for reasons that do not need to be mentioned.
Doreen had the idea of picking up beads off the side of the street and putting them around her neck. While Jim was more reserved, she was more outgoing.
The next day before the game, Jim and Doreen called to tell us they could not make the game anymore because she caught hives. Charles and I said it was because of the gutter beads around her neck. As a side note, I still have a bunch of those gutter beads in my duffle bag.
A week or so later is when the Saints hosted the Eagles. Being Emily worked for the Saints, she got her family and me tickets and sideline passes for pre-game.
We got to see the players on both teams including Drew Brees and Reggie Bush warm up on the field, and I also got to see Tony Siragusa who, at the time, was a sideline reporter for Fox when Kenny Albert and Daryl Johnston were calling games in the press box.
Also while parading around the sideline, I snapped some photos on a disposable camera. I still have those pictures stuffed in a draw, knook, or cranny somewhere in my bedroom.
It came time for the game to start, and we sat at the very top of the Superdome parallel with the Saints’ sideline and roughly perpendicular to midfield. My depth perception was thrown off being that high up in the atmosphere.
The Saints ended up winning the game, and the electricity in the building was amazing. I had been to the first Saints’ game back in the dome after Katrina earlier that season when they beat the Falcons on Monday night. The electricity in the building that September night was either matched or exceeded by the electricity in the playoff game. It was a special moment being in the building and witnessing such a historic accomplishment considering the playoff woes of our beloved Who Dats.
However, the electricity was short lived because the Saints lost the next week to the Chicago Bears in the NFC Championship Game.
Just as a follow up to the story, later that year in August, I went to Colorado for a week with Rex and Charles. That could be a column for later. Stay tuned.