The coronavirus crisis has altered nearly every corner of social life, local tradition and business norms. The next example is a New Orleans experience that intersects all of these realms: Saints football.
As if facing a Tom Brady-led Buccaneers isn’t surreal enough all on its own, this Sunday’s season opener will take place in a Dome devoid of fans, as if we were suddenly in Atlanta.
If you’re watching from home, be mindful of how many people you invite and assess how informed you think they are about public health advisories.
If you’re headed out to the trusty bar or tavern, well, here’s where things get really interesting. Most of those trusty corner bars remain closed. But not all of them.
Many bars around the state have been able to reopen as restaurants, using special permits that that allow them to operate under current restaurant rules.
Fat Harry’s, Cooter Brown’s, Finn McCool’s, Bayou Beer Garden, Mid-City Yacht Club, the Beachcorner – those are a few well-known names in that number. Add the big patio bars like Wrong Iron, Tchoup Yard and the Bulldog and you get a sense that a lot of familiar game day spots are back at it.
But business as usual is still off the table. In fact, tables are the key. The rules allowing them to reopen means they have to behave like restaurants, and that means you need to sit down, at a table, and eat.
A Saints game is typically a tough time for passionate fans to manage while minding their table manners. But the way I look at it, these are steps to get us back to more familiar turf, while still having some kind of Saints experience.
It’s all part of game planning in this altered era. So, plan ahead, enjoy the moment, that anticipation before kick off, and put some burgers and wings and loaded fries on your table. After all, as past seasons have shown us, when the Saints are playing it helps to have something around to chew on besides your fingernails.