When the Saints take on the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, I want them to send a message. I want their win to be decisive and convincing so that teams like the Falcons, 49ers and even the almighty Packers sit up and take notice. But I also want them to send a more personal, pointed message to one Vikings player in particular: Defensive end Jared Allen.
In case you missed, it, Allen is quoted as saying:
“New Orleans looks like I’m driving through a third-world country. Every time I get off the plane, I’m like, ‘Oh, flak jacket.’ I’m trying to get down. I’m like, ‘Ah, crap, I can’t carry my gun here. This sucks.”
Obviously we New Orleans folks don’t take kindly to a guy trash talking our city when he, by his own admission, has solely experienced the stretch of the city you see from the interstate traveling from the airport to downtown. Oh and he went to Bourbon St, too. That would be like me saying Denver is a cess-pool because a toilet was overflowing in an airport bathroom during my 30 mintue layover. Or, it would be like me saying Jared Allen is an ignorant, ill-informed, culture-less, arrogant douchebag, based on the one interview he’s given over his 10+ years in the league. But I won’t do that.
It’s interesting that he would compare New Orleans to a third world country. What it tells me is that:
a) Jared Allen has clearly never been to a third world country. The thing is, I have been to one and I can assure you that you won’t find a St. Charles Avenue in Indonesia. You won’t find the breathtaking Spanish Colonial influences of buildings like the Cabildo, or Uptown’s creole cottages, or the gorgeously colorful double-gallery townhomes, the neo-classical architecture of some French Quarter structures, a mixture of Gothic, Renaissance Colonial, Greek, Art Nouveau, and Art Deco within blocks of each other or the beautiful wrought iron balconies that surround the Pontabla apartments. A third world country is children bathing in the same murky, contaminated waters where a dog is taking a dump a few yards away.
b) Jared Allen went to Bourbon St., stepped near a pile of puke and thought that made him an expert on the culture, spirit and landscape of one of the most exciting cities in the world. After all, anyone who has truly experienced New Orleans, even if they’d never want to call her home, would at the very least appreciate her charm, sinfully delicious food and above all, her resilience in the aftermath of the worst natural disaster in the history of the country.
Allen later apologized for his remarks, saying they weren’t directed at the people of New Orleans. He just meant to trash the city they live in and imply it looked like their neighborhoods had been hit by a bomb. What’s all the fuss about?
I say we let the Saints speak for the people of New Orleans on Sunday. We’ll let the laser accuracy of Drew Brees be our retort to his half-hearted apology. We’ll let Jimmy Graham’s stiff arm to the end zone be our way of saying “No hard feelings, big guy!” We’ll let Pierre Thomas mowing over the defensive line and Will Smith sweeping Christian Ponder off his feet be our version of, “Hey, we all make mistakes!”
After all, although Allen’s words were hurtful and unnecessary, we southern folk are all about hospitality, even as it relates to those who do us wrong. Since his Vikings team certainly will have plenty of free time after the regular season ends, the people of New Orleans would like to invite him back to our fair city to explore it outside the confines of his hotel room. Heck…he can even come to the Superdome and watch our team in the playoffs. You know, because OUR team actually made it to the playoffs. Maybe he can even lead the dome in a “Who Dat” chant. He’s got to remember how it goes, given the outcome of his last two unsavory visits. The one back in 2009 was particularly memorable…
Nola Chick’s Prediction: