June 29, 2010
Posted: 02:20 PM ET
Below is an excerpt from New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton from his new book "Home Team: Coaching the Saints and New Orleans Back to Life." In this excerpt, Payton describes the scene of the Saints Super Bowl Victory Parade.
These were the people we’d been playing for – people who’d lost so much and struggled so valiantly, literally crying tears of joy. They’d lived through unthinkable hardship: losing their homes, being scattered across the country, some of them seeing their relatives drown. They came from every neighborhood and every background. Relative newcomers and people whose families have been in Louisiana for centuries. Black people. White people. People in such elaborate costumes, you couldn’t tell who they were. All of them were united in triumph now.
These were the people Jimmy Buffett was talking about when he called New Orleans “the soul of our country.” They have been so kind to us. I truly have come to treasure them.
Eighty percent of their city was flooded when the levees broke. They’d lost their jobs. People they’d known, people they loved had been forced to leave and weren’t coming back. Government had failed them at every level. The media had grown bored and moved on. And yet these people still had not lost their will to celebrate. Their spirit made me care deeply about a place I had barely known before. Their courage inspired a struggling football team all the way to the Super Bowl.
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