Mary Dell, of Grown and Flown, writes: The Super Bowl returns to New Orleans on Sunday and I am a lucky holder of a ticket for a seat right next to my husband. While it’s a business trip for him, not so for me. I admit it: though I love football, my excitement is less the game and more the venue. Instead of picking between the ‘49ers and Ravens, I’ll be cheering for New Orleans.
NOLA and I go way back though it has been decades since I’ve visited. I feel about the city like I do about a distant, somewhat exotic, favorite cousin whom I very rarely see. So it sits in that wispy section of my memory, the part with more shadows than clear lines. It’s lodged with other places I knew well when I was young and have never returned to, like the town where my grandparents lived.
But my New Orleans memories are lively ones. My first time there was on a college road trip taken over a New Year’s Eve weekend. We attended a party at a friend of a friend’s house Uptown near Audubon Park. The live oaks surrounding the home dripped with Spanish moss. I nibbled on a casserole of oysters and eggplant served out of a silver tureen. There seemed to be no risk of the champagne running dry.
We had tickets for the Sugar Bowl on New Year’s Day. Heisman Trophy winner Tony Dorsett ran through the Georgia Bulldogs defense to lead Pitt to victory and a National Championship. Road trip, party, bowl game – truly, one amazing college weekend.