Aug 08 2017

Floored by Saints and Loss of Heroes

By: Keith John Paul Horcasitas

Nowadays, we, like many folks have wooden or hard floors, as they are easy to take care of and are not associated with pestering people with allergies. 

But I can remember an era when “wall to wall carpeting” was king – like the ole days when “paneling of walls” was da thing to do in my home town of N'Awlins! 

As a kid growing up in the Crescent City in the 60s, I can mainly recall oak or pine floors in the hallways but mostly having area carpeting in our bedrooms. 

Then a big wave of “magic carpet rides” started to be promoted on tv and became very much in vogue. 

David, my older brother, and I loved to pretend to be like Archie Manning and da Saints, as we would play “Knee Tackle Football” on those padded surfaces in our Uptown bedroom. 

It was so cool back then, way before the internet and You Tubes, to directly see dudes installing carpeting with those little nail-head wooden pieces placed on the perimeter of a room and dem installers using kick-devices to evenly spread / stretch the flow of the floor covering. 

I was amazed at how quickly a room could be completely blanketed with carpeting, and it was so neat to see how installers would sometimes put cushioning beneath it to help David and I not have too many injuries in our knee football conquests! 

We lived on Broadway in Yatsville, which was only a stone's throw away from Tulane Stadium, where the “Aints” first played in the NFL. 

So David and I got inspired by the likes of initial Aints like QB Billy Kilmer, and RB John Gilliam; the latter returned the first kickoff in their first NFL game for NO 94 yards for a TD! 

I even went to the Saints game on November 8, 1970 when Tom Dempsey kicked that former record 63 yard long victory field goal against the Detroit Lions, but I have to admit to having left the game earlier when it seemed like da Saints would add a loss to their then perennial losing seasons! 

While all of us die-hard Aints fans certainly dreamed a lot back then and even well into the new millennium of the Saints one day going to and winning a Super Bowl, it really seemed out of touch with reality. 

Yet after a papal visit in 1987, much perseverance and even Hurricane Katrina, “Who Dat Nation” found Football Heaven with a Super Bowl Victory for the 2009 Season that FLOORED all of us! 

I can fondly recall one of the many faithful callers of WWL Radio (870 AM) to da late Buddy Diliberto hoping for a “magic carpet ride” to winning the Super Bowl – when many of us would scoff at any such a delusion! 

While Buddy didn't get to live that dream, Bobby Hebert did get to wear a dress on Bourbon Street for him when that dream became a reality! After that momentous victory by Coach Sean Payton, Drew Brees, Will Smith and many others, we have promoted the wonderful city that never forgot to CARE! 

How neat it was to subsequently hear on WWL Radio an earlier LSU and Saints Great, Hokie Gajan, cover other special Saint moments that we have all been blessed to experience! 

As we all anxiously anticipate another "Who Dat?!" football season and sadly recall the deaths in April 2016 of great N.O. Saints like Will Smith (91) and Hokie Gajan (46), let's pray through the SAINTS intercession that we all may strive to find the true magic carpet ride (MCR) of peace through better understanding of each other. 

Like Steppenwolf noted in their MCR song: 

Well, you don't know what we can find 
Why don't you come with me little girl 
On a magic carpet ride (Super Bowl / Heaven!) 

You don't know what we can see 
Why don't you tell your dreams to me 
Fantasy will set you free (Super Bowl / Heaven!) 

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