Sorry it took so long. We flew into NOLA from Syracuse on Friday night. I went with my right hand man STO and his daughter Sarah. Our flight had a stopover in Charlotte, a place I will be getting to know a lot better in the future. Had a really negative feeling about it because 1) it is in the heart of ACC territory, a conference I hated passionately for many years and b) the last time I was there, they had public smoking there. Ugh. Tobacco Road indeed. No smoking to be found there this time. STO and I were mistaken for coaches on the SU staff by a kid who served us dinner. He didn't believe us when we told him we were not. Turned out he was a former student at Nottingham. Small world. Another example of small world: one of the last people to get on the plane to NO with us was SU DL coach Jimmy Brumbraugh. I assume the reason he did not fly in with the team was because he was watching/recruiting HS prospects somewhere in the area. Arrived in NOLA about midnight. We wasted some time getting to our hotel, the Marriott near the convention center, because Goggle maps started malfunctioning once we got downtown. But we eventually got in. Got up fairly early the next morning. Went to Cafe Du Monde, which is just across from Jackson Square. Waited 20 minutes for some Ben-Yeahs and hot chocolate. I think anything deep fried is going to be pretty good, but plain dough with plain powdered sugar did not knock me out. There are better things to do with your time than stop here. Beautiful day. We spent some time exploring the French Quarter, principally Bourbon Street. It still smells like vomit, urine and skanky alcohol. Sometimes you can also detect smell of maggots. Lovely. We made the mandatory stop at Pat O'Briens for their legendary ginger ale. It was okay. Okay, we went for the Hurricanes. 4 shots in each, $8 per. Woo hoo! Pretty cool place to visit even if you don't drink. I am a fan of the architecture of the city. Lots of very old buildings, most of them have retained their original character. The cheesy businesses of Bourbon Street looked worse than I remember. And sstrip clubsI don't remember from 1987 or 2003.....really scummy looking ones. Unsightly women walking around naked trying to attract business. It is different anyway.... We eventually headed to Walk Ons, a really nice sports bar that just opened near the Superdome and Poydras. Right next store is another interesting sports bar. I think it is called Lucky's. They were trying to lure people in by stationing their bar maidens in front of the bar, where they were playing football. In Brittney Spears Lolita bad Catholic schoolgirl outfits. Oh nellie! At Walk Ons, we found lots of nice TVs there, really good setup, attentive waitresses, class A talent everywhere. Was struck by the number of women there, wearing their teams colors, rooting them on. A lot of them clearly knew their football. Impressive. The Deep South is football country. Big time. Everywhere we went there were Gator and LSU fans. Dozens of buses were lined up and loaded, headed to Baton Rogue for the big game. A lot of them thought we were Gator fans and gave us Gator Chop. STO was disgusted. I responded if the gestures were done by pretty women. Only in New Orleans..... The UConn/WVU game could not be shown. They did not subscribe to SNY and weren't going to commit one of their local feeds to the Cox broadcast so we couldn't watch it. From the highlights, it looked like UConn continue to have the worst offense in the BE. That is really hard to do....this might be the worst overall group of offenses a BCS conference has had in many years. What a nightmare year for UConn fans. Did not see RU against Pitt either. Pretty sure there is a standing rule that no RU games can be televised in the Deep South, in case children are watching. Met a bunch of posters and lurkers for the first time at Walk Ons and later at Allegros. Great to see everyone....sorry I can't name everyone. This has already been said and can't be said enough....great job by TexanMark. I guess SU used all their resources to do a good tailgate thing at the USC game, so Mark filled in the void in NO. The food was really good. My favorite was the jambalaya. Tender chicken and sausage, just the right mix of spices. Solid. Semi-solid anyway. We eventually headed to the Superdome. I have been there twice before, for the Sugar Bowl and the 2003 Final Four. It still remains a really impressive and imposing sight as you approach this massive building. The sight lines are among the worst of any stadium I have been in (the opposite of the Dome), but other than that is is hard to find things to complain about the place. The first sign Tulane was not going to have a strong presence was when I bought a program and it cost $1 dollar. When I expressed surprise at the price, the vendor asked me why. I told him I had only heard stories of $1 programs from my dad when I was a little boy. Tulane had a terrible turnout. Maybe 1000 fans there. I think we had about 2000 fans. 3000 fans in that huge Dome is really sad. Really sad. At Jurrie pointed out to me, they never did announce the attendance. Hmmmm. I think one time when Tulane's OL jumped offsides, it was caused when a fan flushed a toilet in one of the men's rooms at an inopportune moment. Speaking of toilets, no stainless steel troughs here. Very disappointing. What are you going to do? No question we made far more noise than their fans did. Haven't seen any quotes but I wonder if Tulane HC Toledo expressed frustration that his team was bothered by crowd noise at the own home stadium? Because they were and it did happen. Food highlight there was the shrimp po boy I got at a concession stand. The shrimp were small, deep fried with a light batter and other than no being seasoned at all, not bad. They were in a big roll that was hard and stale and there was no sauce served with it. Dry, unappetizing and just not good. Regarding the game, it was another tough one to watch. Started off well enough, I was pretty happy when it was 24-7 and later 31-14. Our offense is obviously a mess. Hay has having horrible problems pass blocking. I think most everything is amiss. Nassib has lost confidence and is not throwing the ball very well. The WRs are having problems getting open consistently. When they make catches, we rarely get yards after the catch. Our pass blocking is really bad. Again. Hay could not handle his speedy undersized DE. The RBs are poor pass blockers. The pass calling is conservative and bland. The RBs rarely break tackles or get extra yards after first making contact. Thank God for Dorian Graham, one of the most competitive players on the team. He gave us a big lift and was a big reason we were able to get the win. On defense, the lack of a pass rush is a big issue. We don't have a single DL who can consistently put pressure on the QB on passing downs. Our CBs are struggling at times but no one is going to cover someone for 10 seconds in bump and run. Thought P Thomas made some big plays. S Thomas was not his old self. I hope the rust is no longer there tonight. We really need Chandler to step up and get some pressure. Hopefully Goggins, who has been a revelation, will have another good game and will not get re-injured. On Sunday, STO, his daughter and I heading to the Bayou for a round of golf at a course called La Tour. It is in the middle of nowhere, 48 miles southwest of New Orleans. Nice course. Was in excellent shape. Other than the 20-30 MPH winds, it was fun to play. We saw some baby gators on some of the holes, and some snakes, herons, and cranes. Beautiful area. At the turn, we stopped by the clubhouse to get a bite to eat. There were two young girls manning their restaurant. Both were blonde, both wore Saints game uniforms (most everyone in the state was wearing them on this day) and both were very outgoing and personable. One of them made eye contact. Here is the conversation that ensued: "Syracuse? You boys from Syracuse?" Yes, I am from Binghamton and he is from just outside Syracuse. "Do you know Charley Loeb?" I am dumb struck. How in the world could this youngster, maybe 18 oe 20 years old, possibly know Charley Loeb? Yes, I do. He is the 2nd string QB. How in the world do you know him? "Charley Loeb is the handsomest boy in the whole wide world." The other girl rolls her eyes and whispers to me "She is boy crazy". But how do you know him? How could you possibly know who Charley Loeb is? The first girl starts chatting in a very Southern style manner, ending her statements with a rise in her voice, kind of like she is asking a question, though she rarely is asking anything. "Do you know the Manning boys?" Before I can answer, she says "You know, Peyton and Eli, the famous Manning boys from down here?" Before I can answer, she says "Well, the Manning boys have a camp each summer down here, right down the road, right by here, down in Thibodaux. It's for all the young quarterbacks. They all come down so the Manning boys can teach them secrets of playing football. It happens every year." Before I can respond she says "Each day after camp ends, the young quarterbacks go into the bars in Thibodaux, and the girls come from all around to meet them, and we have a good 'ole time". "I met Charley at one of those. He is the handsomest boy in the whole wide world!" In the meantime, the other blonde rolls her eyes again and starts saying "Charley Loeb this Charley Loeb that! Charley Loeb, Charley Loeb, Charley Loeb!". And rolls her eyes again. The other blonde is in the zone and doesn't even hear her friend. "I met Charley and he was so handsome and so nice! He is the nicest boy in the whole wide world!" "You are so lucky to live in Syracuse! So close to Charley Lobe! I wish I was you!" A brief pause "Let me show you my picture!" She takes her phone out and 5 seconds later, very very proudly presents it to me. "It's me and Charley Loeb!" As I take the phone, the other blonde is silently but unmistakably mouthing the words "Charley Loeb! Charley Loeb! Charley Loeb!"..... The picture is of the young blonde with the giant crush, her arm around a big guy who clearly is Charley Loeb. The expression on her face is one of pure bliss. She is so proud and happy she is practically glowing. Charley is wearing a baseball hat backwards, has a sheepish smile and looks like he might be a little drunk. "I think I am moving to Syracuse. Nothing ever happens around here. I would be so much happier if I were in Syracuse!" The other blonde continues to roll her eyes and mouth the words "Charley Loeb"..... If only Sean Keeley were there to see the whole thing. I think he would have exploded. Anyway, La Tour is a nice place. I ended up getting an osyster po boy from the blondes. The time to cook it gave the one the time to tell her story. The po boy was served with cayun seasoned fries. It was cooked perfectly, had a great sauce and was one of the best things I have ever eaten. The fries were great too. We asked the girls if they could recommend a place to have dinner on the way to the airport. They looked lost like deer in the headlights, ended up calling an older guy out of the kitchen. He ended up recommending a fish place called Spahr's Sea Food, just off State Highway 90. We ended up going there and having an excellent meal. They have really good catfish. And everyone there wearing Saints game jerseys on Sundays. Great to have a community of SU fans in place to meet with and hang with no matter where SU might end up playing. Great to see old friends and make some new ones on my trip. And Charley, if you are ever feeling low, know that you are loved. Truly loved. By a cute little blonde who wears a Drew Brees jersey and who is thinking of moving close by. You have been warned.