New Orleans is a hell of a town.
A national treasure. A jewel in the Caribbean. The crown of the Gulf.
People interact and exist in a way that, frankly, does not happen anywhere else.
I was in New Orleans a little more'n a year ago when the Donald Sterling news broke.
I wrote a whole long-winded thing about it. You can read it if you want, but I wanted to quote myself, as pompous as that may be, because something I wrote sprang to mind watching last night's game against the Pelicans. When the crowd started going, whooooeee.
New Orleans knows how to party.
I ended up last night in another bar deep, deep in the Bywater. It was the owner's granddaughter's birthday party, and the regulars were having a celebratory crawfish cookout. There was a GIANT metal bowl filled to the brim with red, shiny, spicy, black-eyed dead crawfish cooked to perfection. I had made friends with a middle aged woman who is a professor at Tulane. We sat drinking gin and talking about the sad reality of global warming.
Another middle aged black woman sat next to me and meticulously instructed me how to properly eat a crawfish. "You gotta pinch the tail and suck the head baby! Yeah baby! Now you getting it," she smiled, goading me on. Her thick New Orleans accent was beautiful, the words cascading like butter. I love how people talk around here.
"Just pinchin them tails and suckin them heads baby! Yeah!"
She went around and found all her friends so she could introduce me to them. "Where all your other band mates at baby? They come out to tha Bywater with ya?"
"No mam, just me."
"How you end up all the way out here?"
"Canal, it really isn't very far."
"No, I know where it is baby, I'm just surprised is all. Bet you didn't know you was gonna sit down at a real New Awlins craw fish cookout, huh?" She laughed, eyes shining.
"No, no I did not."
"Well, shit, keep pinchin them tails and bitin them heads. Yeah baby! Now you got it." She slapped me on the back and got up and danced around.
The little girl whose birthday it was ran around, tightly clutching a teddy bear. She couldn't have been older than two. There were a bunch of kids there, all just smiling and dancing and running around inside the smoke filled bar. It felt like the most natural thing in the world to have a gaggle of children running around. Race and age fell away and ceased to matter. Inside this room, we were all one, and we were well fed. Outside the sun had set. Old houses, cracked with vines creeping out from backyard gardens, sat in the twilight.
That moment, there, eating crawfish and drinking gin, smoking cigarettes and talking to strangers about the meaning of my generation, that moment was forever.
I hope the Warriors face the Pelicans in the first round of this year's playoffs.
There are a variety of reasons, first and foremost being: ANTHONY DAVIS IS A BEAST.
I want New Orleans to love basketball as much as I love New Orleans. I don't want them to love it so much that the Pellies somehow upset the Warriors, but I want them to get a taste of the postseason.
It's irrational and over-personal, but hey. I don't have that same connection to Oklahoma City. I haven't wandered the back roads and made friends in broken down dive bars.
And in no way will I be rooting for them! Shit. I am confident the Dubs would easily handle whatever team they face, be it New Orleans or Oklahoma City.
Last night's crowd was louder than it had been all year.
I'm not used to this arena being this loud— Ethan Strauss (@SherwoodStrauss) April 8, 2015
Man, what a game. And this series would have a better atmosphere than I thought— Ethan Strauss (@SherwoodStrauss) April 8, 2015
I for one am excited about the future of basketball in New Orleans. What better way to get them started than a beat down in round one?