As many of you probably know, I represent the better half of this Cleveland backed sports website. Being from PA, rooting for the Steelers and growing up in Ohio has always made for some fun discussions. Hell Thunder Treats founder and editor DiLo has fired me over 500 times just because of arguments we get into over the Steelers/Browns or Buckeyes/Nittany Lions. I am fortunate enough to have season tickets to the Steelers, so I have not missed a home game ever played at Heinz Field since it opened in 2001. In recent years, I have made it a goal of mine to attend two to four away games each year. When I saw New Orleans on the schedule for this year, it was no question that this would be one of my destinations. Here is a brief overview of that amazing weekend in N’awlins:
I headed down to New Orleans Friday, October 29th to begin the weekend fun. Everyone told me when I get there that I have to get two things: 1. A Hurricane and 2. A hand grenade. Friday night we set out for Bourbon Street and met up with many members of Steeler Nation. I met people from California all the way down to Mexico City who flew to New Orleans to see the game. Our main goal was to find this Hand Grenade and see what it was all about. Turns out the Hand Grenade is made at only one place on the strip called Tropical Isle. The more we walked around the more we noticed more and more people carrying a green plastic bottle shaped like a hand grenade.For $8 dollars you get a drink straight from the fountain that is claimed to be the strongest drink in New Orleans. The recipe is a secret but it is rumored to have 8 ounces of liquor made up of Everclear, Vodka, Rum, Gin and Pineapple. Well after three of them each, we found out just how strong these sneaky bastards were. Here is a prime example of my friend who made the trip who had a rough evening from these hand grenades.
We decided to go and check out the NBA game next door to the Superdome since Carmelo and the Nuggets were in town to take on Chris Paul and the New Orleans Hornets. Game ended up being a great game to watch and a good atmosphere despite the lack of attendance.
After the game we headed back to Bourbon Street for round 2 of the weekend fun. Being Halloween night, everyone was out in full force with their costumes. I will say you haven’t partied until you have experienced Bourbon Street on Halloween Night. For the 6th consecutive year, I decided to rep the Hostess Twinkie costume. Something about a 6’6” 300 very plus pound full body Twinkie seems to get quite the popular response.
Gameday was here and thanks to my friend in New Orleans we were able to get a morning tour of the lower 9th ward, which if you remember from the television coverage was one of the hardest hit areas from Hurricane Katrina and one of the first areas where the levies failed and flooded. Seeing this in person was a surreal experience and the pictures do not do it justice. Overgrown weeds and steps leading to missing houses remain, with very small amounts of rebuilding five years later. The last picture shows the old rusty metal levy that broke on the left, compared to the new cement levy on the right.
Finally the game was here and going in I was not very confident given the scenario. The Saints backs were against the wall needing a win, it was Sunday Night Football on Halloween in New Orleans, and the Browns just absolutely spanked them the week before. Before the game we attended what was called “Champions Square” outside of the Superdome which was basically one bigass outdoor party for everyone going to the game. The atmosphere inside the Superdome was amazing. Just after the coin flip, Drew Brees gave a signal and 50,000 people (20,000 were Steelers fans according to the news) broke out in an unreal loud chant of “WHO DAT, WHO DAT, WHO DAY SAY GONNA BEAT DEM SAINTS.” I have been to a lot of away games and that by far was one of the coolest things I got to see an opposing fan base do. The game rolled on and finished the way I was unfortunately thinking that it would. Although the Steelers lost, it was an amazing time in New Orleans. The people in the south are so nice and made it a great place to visit and watch a game. Below are some pictures from the football game and pregame festivities.