I was in New Orleans for several days and within the first hour it has become my favorite city in America. Music, food, roaches.
There was a family of musicians playing on the street in the French Quarter: clarinet, sousaphone, drum kit. It was the most amazing clarinet and sousaphone playing I’ve ever heard. Here’s a brief sample.
Football! I went to a New Orleans Saints vs the Carolina Panthers game. Now since the Saints won the Superbowl last year, Saints fans are borderline fanatical. Here are several pictures and clips from the game (they won 16 – 14, and by the end I somewhat knew was going on in the game)
I made it to my scalped seat in the nosebleeds just as the anthem started. A member of the New Orleans Opera Association sang, and while I couldn’t see or hear any spectators singing, most of them stood at attention with their hands over their hearts and gave a huge cheer once the anthem soared to a finish.
I ended up sitting beside Bobby, a diehard Saints fan who has had the same seats for his season tickets since he was a boy and was surrounded by his family, his boyhood friends and their families, and who was my helpful narrator during the game. You can hear him in this track, and others below. The dB level in that place was unbelievable: I believe it was the loudest sound I’ve ever heard a group of unamplified humans make. I didn’t bring my sound level meter with me, unfortunately, but I would peg the level to be between 100 and 105dB. I put in earplugs. Here is a clip of the start of the game, beginning with the American anthem, sung to its dramatic max.
Beer vendors hiked up the stadium stairs like mountain goats selling overpriced, low grade American beers. (Water was $4). In the track below, after Bobby gets a beer, the crowd starts it’s now-familiar pattern of cheering. When the offense has control of the ball, the crowd makes as much noise as possible to try to ruin their play. The quality of the cheering changes drastically when the home team makes a good play and the cheering switches from catcall/booing to happy screams. You can hear music, ads, and the announcer playing on huge speakers suspended like moons from the ceiling of the Superdome. The clicking you can hear during the cheering was a woman across the aisle hitting wooden spoons together. Bobby also goes on to tell me about why everyone loves the Saints, and goes into the economics of the area.