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Opinion: Not even Covid could stop Ginny’s awesome 39th

Opinion: Not even Covid could stop Ginny’s awesome 39th
Written by Publishing Team

On the way to the Sugar Bowl, I checked my Worldometer app for the latest Covid stats.

Amazingly, on the day we head out to a massive public party in the French Quarter, the Louisiana Covid stats are at their highest in a single day ever. Isn’t that just like Covid? As they say in the vernacular, “These things are getting old.”

I know I’m not the only one who shrugs off the last wave and walks away. Two years is long enough.

Mississippi residents have been exposed to a pile of conspiracy theories lately, including a batch of Covid theories. Most of us deal with exactly one theory – a theory. Then we take our real-world observations very seriously. We all have dozens of friends who’ve had an Omicron variant and seen the same answer over and over. “Really, as bad as a cold.”

This does not mean that there will not be some deaths. But two years later, Covid is now just another disease that reminds us of our own mortality and dependence on God. It can go along with heart disease, cancer, strokes, car accidents, falling stairs and other epidemics.

So far, we are all back and doing well. You may have heard some sniffles and coughs throughout the week, but then again, we were all crammed into stadiums, sports bars, and dance halls. The food, drink, music and bustle, as always at Nawlins, was great.

Personally, I feel like my immune system is working fine, having just recovered from the worst illness I can remember in my life – a six week bout of bronchitis, asthma, wheezing, coughing etc. It was not normal. I am convinced that this is somehow connected with the unpleasant feelings that have occurred recently.

It was our trip with friends and family, which was really great. It’s amazing that my kids are growing up enough to take a vacation with Jenny and me and our friends as adult partners. We had a blast. all along. The generation gaps appeared to be non-existent.

Through our children, we have reached out to a larger group of friends and their parents. It’s just been such a fun time through the generations.

Part of this trip was to celebrate the birthdays of my wife Jenny and my good friend Kemal Sanli, both of whom have birthdays. They always get a short makeover as a result. This was a trip for reparations, especially since Jenny celebrated her 39th birthday this year.

We rented a three bedroom apartment in the adjacent Marigny and Northeast French Quarter. It is a modern and promising area with a true bohemian feel. We loved it. It was like being in the neighborhood but much quieter and softer. Great restaurants and street cafes everywhere.

From Marigny, the ride can take up to 20 minutes in the neighborhood, but this is made easier by new Blue Bike platforms throughout the area.

Unlike many cities like Austin and Atlanta, New Orleans has banned electric scooter rentals. I can understand why, given the amount of pedestrian traffic in the neighborhood. People were run over by novice scooter riders.

But Blue Bikes are “energy assisted” electric bikes that travel the streets with cars. Their pedals are much easier than a traditional bike. Once you download the app and insert your credit card, simply point the camera towards the QR code mounted on the handlebars. The bike opens and goes.

When you get to where you’re going, lock the bike at the nearby Blue Bike Station and go. It has made navigating the French Quarter much easier and faster.

Jenny and I also used our blue bikes to get around the entire Marini area. This would have been impossible on foot and gave us real insight into this next part of New Orleans.

I was a little surprised that no one on Blue Bikes wears helmets, and this was not required. I wonder how long it will last. It’s only a matter of time before someone breaks their head.

The Blue Bike app was just one example of how smartphone technology has made our ride fast. We used apps to rent our condo, to check-in, to find restaurants, to call Ubers, ride bikes, buy tickets, track friends, commute and dozens of other things. We talk a lot about the negatives of smartphones, but there are more positives.

With my daughter Ruth, a freshman at Ole Miss, Jenny and I are back in college football and have made five trips to Grove this year. So, going to the Sugar Bowl makes sense.

I thought I bought eight good tickets. I mean, my credit card was debited, only to get an email a couple of weeks later from the Ole Miss athletics department, because I didn’t donate enough, I could only get 2 much worse tickets and they would give my money back. The guy I was hot! This is a very bad practice.

As it turned out, there was an equal amount of enthusiasm to go to a cool neighborhood sports bar and watch the game on TV. Now armed with a backup plan, we planned to watch ticket prices drop and make a last minute decision.

As it turned out, the prices really came down and we could buy all the tickets we wanted for $70 a piece. Although it was in the nosebleed department, but the Superdome is so vertical there’s really no bad seat in the house.

Tried as best he could, my audience didn’t budge. They wanted to eat, drink and be fun in a great sports bar. So, after a cocktail party of about 20 people in our apartment, our hilarious multi-generational band walked down pretty Marigny Street to the American Sports Saloon on Decator and Governor Nicholls Street one block down the river.

We were not disappointed. The pub food was delicious. The screens were large and manifold, including on the balcony where you can sit on a comfy sofa and watch the game with a great view of the French Quarter crowd and the New Orleans skyline.

The disappointment soon came when Ole Miss midfielder Matt Corral was injured. What a team leader he is. What a hero. What a class act. Without a doubt, this young man was the heart and soul of the team. When he fell, the team collapsed. Another chapter in the Ole Miss Tragedy Football book.

After the game, we participated in the endless fountain of great music and crowd energy that made New Orleans the third most popular tourist destination in the United States.

For Mississippians, New Orleans is like a second home, a part of our lives. Even though I live in Jackson, I’ve been to New Orleans many times, and that’s just part of my identity. When I thought of countless memories and countless great times, I really felt love for this Big Easy.

It was my favorite story when I was in my early twenties. My girlfriend was working on the Mississippi Queen riverboat and living in a large rambling garden area with a group of friends.

We kicked off Mardi Gras night early, and followed Wild Tchoupitoulas – a tradition of African Americans who dress as Indians and go from honky-tonk to honky-tonk as they sing and chant.

We followed Wild Tchoupitoulas all night and took them out of Honky Tonk into the bright morning light. The street was tight-lipped and hundreds of tourists lined up behind ropes to take pictures of this uniquely American cultural phenomenon. And here we are. Right in the middle of it.

This is just one memory. There are dozens.

On Sunday we had a great brunch with the entire crew at Paladar 511 in Marigny. it was amazing. Then we headed to the Superdome to watch the Saints maintain their qualifying hopes. There were over 20 of us sitting together shouting and shouting “Who says the saints will defeat them.”

Anyway, what a wonderful weekend. It seems to last forever. Friends and family good times. Most importantly, Jenny said it was the best 39th birthday celebration you could imagine, and I have 200 photos to prove it.

So, take that, Covid.

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