With our very own Derick quoted here.
Sunday, February 26, 2006
By Ted Lewis
Hurricane Katrina cost Derrick Hingle his Buras home plus his job as an oilfield dispatcher. He's now trying to rebuild his life in Ponchatoula.
But whether he remains in the area depends on the return of the Saints and Hornets.
"I feel that strongly about it," said Hingle, a season-ticket holder for both teams, as well as the VooDoo. "If they weren't here, it just wouldn't be same to me. And if they are here, I can't leave."
Then there's Rick Bordon, whose St. Bernard home was destroyed in the storm and is now living in Belle Chasse. He's such an LSU baseball fan that he wore his purple-and-gold jacket to last week's Tulane-UNO game.
But at least for now, his ardor, if not his interest, has declined dramatically.
"A year ago, I could tell you about everybody on LSU's starting lineup," Bordon said. "But now, I could care less. I'm just so screwed up by this storm that sometimes I don't feel like I'm in touch with reality."
Hingle and Bordon represent the gamut of attitudes about sports by those whose lives were disrupted by Katrina six months ago this week.
Some say sports are more important to them now -- a relief from having to deal with insurance adjusters, FEMA, contractors, traffic nightmares and a host of other problems.
"We need it to help feel normal again," said Keybo Griffin before a UNO basketball game. He lost his home in New Orleans, stayed in Houston until Christmas and is now living on the West Bank. "Sports is like the one constant we still have in our lives."
And to some, staying involved in sports is almost a civic duty.
"It's important for us to get behind things that are uniquely New Orleans, like Tulane and the Saints," said Loyola law student Rebecca Barrilleaux. "It's a way to help the recovery of our community. I have a lot of pride in the city, and it makes me feel good to get out and support the things that are essential to New Orleans."
But to others, sports are not as much a part of their lives as before.
"Before, when I got the paper in the morning, I would go directly to the sports section," said Louis Rodriguez, who has relocated from Arabi to Uptown. "But now I go to the front page first because I want to read about things that are going on in the city. Those are more about real life and real problems."
Kevin Rodney, who only recently was able to return to his New Orleans home, is even more emphatic.
"I never lived and died with sports, but I love basketball," he said. "I definitely have a lot more on my mind right now than who's beating who. I don't know when the last game was or when the next one's coming up. It's not so much that I miss sports as much as I miss the opportunity to relax after a hard day's work and watch them."
Said Christopher Bentz of Chalmette, who got into his FEMA trailer the day before the Super Bowl: "We had a party at my mom's, and I didn't know who was playing. When all you've been doing is working and gutting your house, you don't sit around worrying about some athlete making $1 million."
Katrina has affected the viewing habits of those who don't just follow the major sports. Julie Shuman of Slidell has been an avid watcher of the Olympics in the past. This time, she said, she may have given them 10 minutes of her attention.
"I know they're on, but I'm still trying to put my house back together," she said. "Between that, insurance worries and all that other stuff, I just don't have time."
Those taken out of their normal pursuits aren't just sports fans. Dana Chesney. Bentz's fiancée, said she hardly picked up a book or watched her favorite TV show during the time she was displaced in Houston.
"I just wasn't interested," she said. "Eating was a major chore because I knew so many people were suffering."
Filling a void To Tulane sports psychologist Lance Green, the wide range of responses is not surprising.
"The importance of sports is a relative thing, especially when many people are in survival mode," Green said. "When you spend your days digging out your home, it puts a different perspective on things. But others, especially those with kids involved in sports, cherish it even more. Having it taken away, even for a short while, created a tremendous void."
Steve Romig of Metairie, whose son Jeff plays on the Jesuit soccer team, couldn't agree more.
"Getting to play this year means so much more to him, and because of that it means so much more to me," Romig said. "You want to say sports is just sports, but somehow it seems more important now."
The family home of Joseph LaCroix, a freshman football player at Brother Martin, was destroyed; they are living in a FEMA trailer. He said playing or practicing is, "a way of getting that Katrina stuff off my mind. I don't have to sit and think about what happened or how many of my friends haven't come back. When I'm playing, everything's all right."
Jesuit soccer coach Hubie Collins said that despite whatever living-condition hardships his players are still experiencing, he found them more focused on soccer than they were pre-Katrina.
"I don't think they take things for granted like before," he said "Some of the kids and their families lost things that took them a lifetime to accumulate. So anything they have now, like soccer, they really appreciate."
That goes for personal fitness as well.
"A lot of people used to come to the gym because the doctor told them they needed to exercise," said Stephanie Miller, an instructor at the Slidell Athletic Club. "Now it's like a big social gathering.
"Stress levels are much higher, and coming to the gym makes you euphoric because you're doing something for yourself rather than worrying about the house."
But some find themselves unable to spend as much time in the gym as before.
Don Ellis of New Orleans used to play basketball at Tulane's Reily Center two or three times per week. But he is a contractor and now counts himself lucky if he makes it once.
"I am sure there are a lot of people in my position who just don't have the time or the energy," he said. "You come in from work and just feel drained."
Elizabeth Sokol, another Reily Center member from New Orleans, said it took the reopening of the facility in January to get her back in the exercise habit.
"I had stuff at home, but it's easier to be more dedicated when you have a place to come to with other people around," she said. "You get so frustrated because things don't happen fast enough and there are long lines everywhere.
"Coming to the gym is the best way to relieve that stress."
But others have had more trouble getting back on track.
Anna Boyer of Harvey had competed in six marathons pre-Katrina but said she is now completely out of her routine.
"I feel like a slug, too," she said. "But I'm either too busy or not in the mood. I loved running, and I know once I get back into the routine the battle will be won. I just need a big push."
Attendance at gyms in the most hard-hit areas is down, but that's not the case at local sports bars.
Lydia Hansche, manager of Cooter Brown's in New Orleans, said she did not notice any drop-off in customers during the NFL playoffs than from years past.
"The only thing I noticed is that people are not as friendly as they were when we first reopened," she said. "There seem to be a lot more arguments, but I can't tell you why."
Sandy Tadlock, manager of Boom 'N Sports in Metairie, said she had noticed the same trend, whether the subject is sports or Katrina.
"People are very antsy and short-tempered," she said. "They don't mean to be, but when you've gone from one long line to find yourself in another or had something else going on like that, it's going to happen."
Maybe that's why many look on sports more as an escape than they ever realized.
Among the things Raymond Doran lost when his Arabi home took on 15 feet of water was what he called his most-prized possession -- an autographed photo of Mickey Mantle.
But attending the Tulane-UNO baseball game gave him a sense of peace.
"It's good to see green again," he said. "Everything in Arabi looks dead."
To Louis Rodriguez, tailgating at LSU football games took on added enjoyment last fall.
"It was like it was a big reunion," he said "There were people all over the place, and when you looked around you knew that Louisiana and New Orleans were on their way back. It was a beautiful thing."
Alvin Paretti of Slidell sees the return of college baseball in the same light.
"It's a sign that we're moving ahead and not standing still," he said. "We had to have our meeting of the (Tulane) St. Bernard Booster Club in Slidell because that's where so many of us are now, and 50 people showed up to hear Coach (Rick) Jones.
"Their homes are gone, but they still care about Tulane baseball."
To Paul Roberts of Harahan, a far larger surge of emotion will be felt in September when the Saints are scheduled to play their home opener in the Superdome.
"It's going to be huge," he said. "That dome represented so much tragedy and the fact they can clean it up and bring it back is a miracle.
"It's really going to bring people together."
And even those whose passion for sports may have waned a bit retain a good measure of it.
Anna Boyer and her husband, Rich, have been Hornets season-ticket holders since the team moved to New Orleans in 2002. But she now feels differently about them, even with reassurances that they plan to return full time in 2007.
"I feel abandoned," she said. "It's like breaking up with a boyfriend or something and then seeing him do better with somebody else."
"But I'll be there when they play the Lakers. They're still my team."
Time for some football!!!
Ya hear that Do not ABANDON your fans!Anna Boyer and her husband, Rich, have been Hornets season-ticket holders since the team moved to New Orleans in 2002. But she now feels differently about them, even with reassurances that they plan to return full time in 2007.
"I feel abandoned," she said. "It's like breaking up with a boyfriend or something and then seeing him do better with somebody else."
"But I'll be there when they play the Lakers. They're still my team."
"Hurricane Katrina cost Derrick Hingle his Buras home plus his job as an oilfield dispatcher. He's now trying to rebuild his life in Ponchatoula. But whether he remains in the area depends on the return of the Saints and Hornets."
If you base where you live on what sports teams you have available, then your life is based in some strange priorities.
You can be a 49er's fan, a Hornets fan, or a Dodger fan from anywhere in the country. I am still a NBA and MLB fan no matter if we have a team here or not. I live here because it is right for me to be here now, not because of any team affiliation.
Peoples priorities are pretty messed up sometimes.
How dare you pass judgement on people who have been effected by the storm. Walk in their shoes before you go telling them how they should act. That has been the problem with some members of the OKIE crowd here since DAY ONE. Check yourself...Originally Posted by hap_e2_hav_m
go tend to your cattle, Okie.Originally Posted by hap_e2_hav_m
Alright. Yes this topic is very touchy. I don't think the poster meant much disrespect, just that solely basing a decision to remain in a town is due to a pro-sports team...doesn't rank up there with the usual priorities when choosing a home. Living conditions, job market, schools, etc are usually what is considered.
However, lets take a step back here. Yes, Katrina was a very tragic natural disaster. You must also keep in mind, New Orleans isn't the only city that has been struck but acts of God deemed to be significant. The truth of reality is that the outside world will feel empathy for those impacted for only a certain period of time, then they move on and go on with their lives. Is this fair? It depends on what is fair. Florida was slapped around in 2004 with Allison, Jeanne, Frances, Charley, and Ivan. Then you have the Midwest floods back in 93 that we still see videos of - especially of that older two story farm house floating away. I would also bring in the tornado outbreaks in the 70s and the recent one in 1999 where several dozen people were killed in Oklahoma and Kansas - and also where the strongest winds every recorded on earth were observed.
People of NOLA need to just understand that the outside world has a very short term memory. I mean, how many of us think about 9/11 day in and day out? Or the OKC bombing? Only those closely impacted think about it much anymore...its human nature. People from outside of NOLA, especially Okies, need to come in with the understanding that they aren't healed and over it yet - it will take time. They need to think about how they would handle someone downplaying the impacts of the Murrah Bombing, the 99 tornado - especially the images of the baby found in a field or the boy being comforted by the trooper after finding the boy's mom shoved through a storm drain by the 300 mph winds, or the terrorizing impacts of the 2003 tornado outbreaks where the first time in recorded history a major metro area was hit by 2 major tornadoes (F3 or higher) on back to back days.
Patience and understanding. If dedication to a sports team is part of the healing process, then so be it. NOLA people though need to also have the same understanding that eventually the outside world will move on and it is left to your will and determination. The situation of the Hornets sucks, but hopefully it all works out in the end when they return in 07. If anything, lets just go forward with some tact on the Okies part, and understanding on the NOLA residents part. Severe weather season kicks off this week in Oklahoma, and Hurricane season isn't that far behind. Let's hope that all areas get by rather untouched this year...but Oklahoma had a really down year last year, and the laws of averages will always come into play soon. For those on the Gulf, hopefully that works in your favor for a very slow season this year - but unfortunately we'll probably have another crazy year.
Stay safe, never forget, and always maintain respect. It can happen to anyone.
I can see where some of us are touchy, venture.
The point of the article (and that hap seems to have missed) is that there are folks who are craving a sense of normalcy -- of things being normal -- after the last six months of crap we've all had.
To some that's being fulfilled with Mardi Gras parades. To others, it's being back in the city and being able to go to their favorites spots.
To guys like derick and others, it's sports. Whether it's worrying about LSU or looking forward to the Saints and the draft or what's going on with the Hornets, sports can have a calming effect on people and give them the peace of mind to reconnect and recharge their batteries to deal with the BS that's going on.
Sadly, between the Saints and the Hornets, there hasn't been much of a calming effect. Way to go guys!
This is a New Orleans based web site. Maybe our visitors need to take notice of what they are walking in to and not be so critical. We already understand how the "outside world" feels. This is one of the places we come to talk among ourselves and with others intelligent enough to join in...Originally Posted by venture79
Look, when it comes to having a team in your own city, the attachment is different than rooting for a team that is elsewhere. If you've never experienced that, they you'll never understand that special connection. A team is more than a team to the Hometown Fans, it's a part of their lives and communities.
So don't dare question that connection, or how we might react should the connection be broken..... You have been warned.
Ask fans in Manchester to root for Arsenal. Tell Lakers fans to don Clippers jerseys. Or try to make the Jets fans root for the Giants because it's a New York team.
They'll all laugh, scream or punch at you.
Now you CAN be a fan from a distance. I'm a Dodgers fan, yet I've never been to L.A. I root for the Avalanche and it's been over a decade since I was in Denver. And I love following those teams and rooting for them.
But being at a New Orleans Saints game or a New Orleans Hornets game is different. Those are my home teams. I can go to their games, meet the players on the street, cheer with thousands of fans like me from around the area. It becomes a communal thing.
Just imagining a Hornets NBA title win or a Saints Superbowl trophy and the party that would come afterwards and I just want all of this nonsense to end and both teams to be home!
Not everyone who lives in Oklahoma have cattle. At least 70% of the citizens are urban. I have seen cows when I drive out of the city. Never touched one, or needed to tend one. Such a silly stereotype.Originally Posted by YoungFella
I can totally understand being attached to a team. I *heart* the Hornets.
I agree Katrina was a large storm. Oklahomans have dealt with some large storms too. Like hurricane season, tornado season comes every year. At least 5 to 10 tornados hit the OKC metroplex every year.Originally Posted by Harvey Hornet
Let's not compare storms, but at least understand we might know how some of you feel.
No offense, but no comparison. And for what it's worth, you are the one "comparing". Our ENTIRE city was shut down by this storm. EVERYONE was effected. EVERYONE experienced damage or losses of some type. If not in a literal sense, the simple everyday conveniences we all take for granted are still affected.Originally Posted by rubyspirit
The issue here is OUTSIDERS coming in to tell our people how they should feel. We don't play that. That isn't going to happen here. Period. One more time. This is a NEW ORLEANS site filled with people who are still dealing with matters as a result of Katrina. Have some damn respect for that. How about an I understand without the "but"? RIGHT NOW, I don't think anyone cares about what Oklahoma has dealt with in the past. It's not a matter of being ugly about it, but thats the past and this matter is still effecting our city and it's people RIGHT NOW. I think we have our hands full, comprende?
I'll make it simple. ANYONE who can't respect that won't be here. No if's, and's or "but's" about it. It's conversations like this that lead to a mass purge of OKC posters early on. Either respect the situation (without looking for a debate or argument) or we'll continue the purge. Take the BS where it belongs, go to the OKC based site if thats what some of you feel you need to do.
Yeah, I live in Houston, but I've been affected by Katrina. I know there are some low class idiots who contend like I shouldn't have a say in this matter (because I live in Houston). I go back and forth between Houston and New Orleans more often than a hillbilly changes his overalls. I'm a Louisiana property owner (I have a home there too) and ALL of my family is there. We were lucky. No flooding or MAJOR damage. But, everyone who has/had property in the area experienced some kind of issues or damage, myself included. It's ongoing too. We've made progress but there is a lot of work to do. Just like the city and just about everyone who resides there. While I live in Houston, my business is National. As a result, I've had business losses too. So, whoever wants to drop that card can give it a shot if they'd like. Lets see what happens...
Finally, this is a NEW ORLEANS HORNETS website. All Hornets fans who can understand and respect what that means are welcome. The rest don't need to be here, and thats directed at EVERYONE not from our region.
Ruby, I responded to your post, but this wasn't aimed directly at you. This is a "catch all" response to the BS that some OKC "visitors" have been bringing here since the "affiliation" between our cities began (mere days after Katrina mind you). We didn't need it then and we don't need it now. We'll never need it. This site and our city was doing quite fine before any of them ever visited. Thats the way it was and thats the way we'll move forward too. it's the outsider's job to fit in here. We aren't going to change our ways because the Hornets are temporarily playing in OKC.
Just as a point of reference, if someone wants to draw a comparison with our disaster in NOLA, I suggest you look to the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906. Check the facts. That one comes the closest. 2500 dead, many more missing, thousands upon thousands of structures destroyed, etc.
This is the 100th anniversary of the great quake. SF will be putting on all kinds of displays, museum functions, and tours. I plan on checking it out sometime in April. I believe that SF's past is our future. And it will be nice to walk with SF natives who know their own history. They will be very supportive of our efforts, unlike a wannabe city who wants to take things from us. Shameful, really.
In other words, more than twice a year?!Originally Posted by Harvey Hornet
I'll put in my two cents. Solely as an empirical observation (I don't want anyone's "sympathy" despite losses in my immediate family), no disaster in American history really compares in terms of the percentage of lives directly affected, loss of property and destruction of infrastructure. The only point being for purposes of this discussion is that, while the Hornets will not ultimately determine whether or not New Orleans rebuilds nor will they determine where I live for the foreseeable future, they can at least contribute to the rebuilding effort and provide an outlet for people who are going through a pretty tough time. We'll see if they come back or not. If I were forced to bet money, I'd bet they will, in fact, return for 07-08.
I've supported the NO Hornets like I'm from New Orleans, and check the town I'm from - I haven't been to the States in my life, but Katrina reeled me in spiritually and mentally to New Orleans.
I do support my hometown teams here though - and there's a 'connection' that you only know if you have a hometown team. It's just the spirit of the team hangs there, and you are pretty much hanging at every turn and corner, for the good and bad. More often than not, loyal fans are hometown fans.
Maybe one day, you'll be able to fill us on the intricacies of rugby. (Thinking of getting the 2006 Rugby game from EA).Originally Posted by PyroCross
Originally Posted by Harvey Hornet
Sports may be a big part of someone's leisure life, but to base your decision on where you live, based on what team is where, is a skewed priority in the grand scheme of importance.
A job, childrens schools, family, ties to a religious affiliation are all a lot more important things than where a sports team is.
I am not passing judgement on someone because they were effected by a storm. I was making a comment on how peoples priorities are sometimes made on a trivial basis as opposed to what is actually important.
This is not a New Orleans versus Oklahioma thing. It is a question of what is important and what isn't.
Fair enough. But one of the things that has made New Orleans what it is has been the presence of the Saints and (recently) the Hornets. That's part of the fabric.Originally Posted by hap_e2_hav_m
I can tell you from experience walking down the streets in New Orleans after a Saints game, you can tell whether the team won or lost the day before. The collective mood of the city improved or dropped if the Saints beat the Falcons or the Bucs or whomever or if they had blown a game.
Not to mention the many connections, friendships, and memories that are formed through their presence. (Just ask anyone here about watching the Dome Patrol vs the Montana/Rice Niners on Monday night or watching Morten Andersen's 60-yarder beat the Rams on New Year's Eve or the playoff victory).
Shoot, within 2 seconds of the Saints' last draft, the phone rang with people blasting or commenting on the pick.
The Hornets were on their way to that too. To being a part of the fabric that is this city. Chris Paul, PJ Brown, they would have made Hornets fans out of the many doubters.
To some sports are part of their lives. They just want the chance to have them.
I'm going to tell you ONE more time. Don't come here to pass judgement and tell someone who lost everything (Derrick) how they should feel. Got it? A "yes" is the only answer I'm interested in hearing. Not one word more...Originally Posted by hap_e2_hav_m
Thanks for the support guys, I spoke to the writer for about 15 minutes but he only used a few quotes for the article. I never said that my decision to stay in the New Orleans area hinged on the return of the Saints and Hornets, but it would be a factor in deciding. Sports in New Orleans is part of the fabric of the culture, Monday's in the fall after a weekend of football just wouldn't be the same. If you've lived in New Orleans you know nearly the entire mood of the city sway's on a Saints win or loss. If they win everyone is happy for the entire week, smiles abound throughout the city, as rare as Saints wins are the city just wouldn't be the same if they lost sports. It's a part of culture in the city, similar to Mardi Gras, New Orleans without Mardi Gras, just isn't New Orleans. The city of New Orleans without the Saints just isn't New Orleans, to me at least, and now I've quickly adopted a passion to following the Hornets that equals and sometimes exceeds my love for the Saints. So to me New Orleans is a place I might not want to live if the Saints and Hornets were to leave. I am in the same boat as most in New Orleans, living in Buras, we got it much worse then anyone, the eye of Katrina passed right over my house. The entire town was nearly flattened. My one escape from the reality of my situation was sitting down to enjoy a Saints game, it didn't matter that they lost, they were just there to provide that much needed distraction, and when Hornets season started it was the same, I got a much needed escape from watching the Hornets. Despite struggling to make money right now, I still continue to support the team, I bought the original six game pack for Baton Rouge and made the two hour plus drive from Marksville to Baton Rouge to watch, I attended every Baton Rouge Saints game, neither team was going to leave because they didn't receive my support, I got a refund of the balance remaining from those packages since I am a season ticket holder. I will continue to support my teams as long as they remain in New Orleans. For those who say they are busy gutting there home and haven't had the time to watch sports, I understand that, and if I had a home to gut I might have missed a few games, but I don't, the home remained standing, but there is nothing to do as the house will be demolished to make room for an expansion of the levee system in Plaquemines Parish, the article of course make no mention of that!!! My priorities are just fine, I have no home to back back to there is nothing left for me in Buras, family moved, friends moved, so now I'm starting my life over with little more than the clothes on my back. I'm starting a photography business so I can do something I love. Hurricane Katrina has changed my life forever, I love New Orleans I think the city will be a great city in the future, but it cannot be as great of a city if it loses it's sports culture, I'm sorry but people in OKC just wouldn't understand the attachment to professional sports, it's a large part of peoples lives. I will be looking forward to seeing all my hornetsreport family/friends in the arena in March.
You're right, Derek. It's their first time on the map. And that's what it took to put them on it.
Lottery 2006: Let's suck and get Rudy... I mean Gay, let's suck and get Gay...
Good luck derick and may all the gods in all the heavens be with you. Shoot, with ALL of US.
So much of what was life in New Orleans has and will change. That's nothing new -- fires, plagues, wars, new governments have taken their toll. Every time New Orleans has adapted and taken the best of what was with the new. I'd like for that to happen.
So Saints...Hornets...stay here. New Orleans is going nowhere.
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