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Welcome to New Orleans, Roger Goodell (and Pete Prisco)

Welcome to New Orleans, Roger Goodell. And Pete Prisco, too.

Before I go on, I must mention that I am a New Orleans girl. I was born and raised in the majestic city that I am still proud to call home. I attended school Uptown my entire life. I even stayed for college and spent way too many years hanging out at The Boot. 

Like most New Orleans girls, I left. I tried to find myself, but realized what I was looking for was right where I started. So, I came back to New Orleans like all New Orleans girls eventually do. In fact, I’ve realized I don’t even like leaving town for long periods of time.

I live in the Garden District, where I am surrounded by large oaks and the kindest neighbors. I shop locally. I eat at local restaurants. I support local businesses and their contributions to our economy.

I love the Saints. I attend several games each year and wear my jersey every Sunday. I cried when we won the Super Bowl and went out to celebrate on Bourbon Street with the rest of the city that night. I also had bronchitis, but was cured by the euphoria and the liquor placed in my hand.

I also write about New Orleans. I read about it. I study the historical city and its beautiful residents. I spread the good news about the progress our city has made. And I count my blessings every day for the opportunity to do so.

I defend my city at any given chance.

That being said, and perhaps I am risking my life by saying this, but I say it with all my love for New Orleans: I welcome you, Roger Goodell, to our lovely city.  I also welcome the city’s second-most-hated person, Pete Prisco.

I am steeling myself for my name to be added to the “Do not serve list” at area establishments.

Some might ask me why I’m using my platform to say this. The reply is simple: I love my city and everything we stand for.

I love my city so much that it disappoints me and upsets me to no end to see my fellow New Orleansians act unlike the people I know. With their hatred toward Roger Goodell, my friends and neighbors have become unwelcoming, rude, un-New Orleans-like. 

Historically speaking, New Orleans has been a city of fighters. We are people who are proud and stand up for everything we believe in. It’s what makes our city magical, fun, unique, welcoming, resilient, and beautiful. In some ways it's ironic that people call it “The Big Easy” and drop clichés like laissez les bon temps roulez. With a comprehensive list of enemies, New Orleans residents aren’t always the easiest or the first to let anything “roll.”

A recent addition to our list of enemies is NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell -- for obvious reasons that don’t need to be rehashed. I am not going to claim that Goodell is a hero, nor am I going to call him my enemy. He hasn’t wronged me, personally. In addition, neither my opinion nor your opinion of him matter. We all have the right to hate someone, the same way we all have the right to love someone.

However, Goodell is our visitor, and our guest, and as a resident and one of the 300,000-plus  hosts of Super Bowl XLVII, I welcome him to New Orleans.

I hope he enjoys the city as much as we do as residents. I hope that he tries some of our local fare without the need of a taste tester. I hope he enjoys it and orders seconds. I hope that he leaves New Orleans with a desire to come back. And, as we prepare to place a bid to host another game, I hope he realizes why we are the best city to host the Super Bowl.

Last night, New Orleans gained a new perceived enemy – one visiting our hometown for the week.  His name is Pete Prisco from CBS Sports. He mentioned in a tweet, “I bet the bars in New Orleans that say they wouldn’t serve Goodell would slobber over him if he actually walked into their place.” 

Within seconds, Prisco was accosted on Twitter by several residents, including a local business, a local publication, and executive chef, among several others, placing him on the same "do not serve list" as Goodell. 

New Orleans, we are better than this. I will actually be the first to say that he in no way bashed New Orleans or called out anyone’s integrity in this post.  If anything, he was making fun of something that has been taken way too seriously. It’s funny how New Orleanians can put it out there on signs and banners, but no one can take it in a tweet. 

I will also be the first to say that if I were a server or restaurant owner, I would indeed slobber at the idea of Roger Goodell and his team of executives rolling into my business equipped with black cards. I welcome the opportunity to stimulate the local economy and completely slobber at the idea of showing off my local fare to a team of visitors.

We fight so hard as a city to make New Orleans the best city to live, work, and play. Since Hurricane Katrina, we have progressed and fought the negative perceptions that plagued us. Let’s not ruin it by assaulting any one of the 5,000 members of the media who are currently in town, looking to deliver that story about New Orleans. Don’t give them a reason to make it a negative one.

I’ve welcomed Goodell and Prisco and invited them to dinner. Now, let’s be better than our enemies and show our visitors what we are made of. Let’s be gracious and welcoming. Let’s have fun and enjoy all the exciting festivities going on this week in our city.

Let’s also be grateful that we have to deal with  only two enemies roaming the streets, instead of 100,000 Falcons fans.

But I would welcome and be nice to those, too.