Five Years Ago Today, The Saints And Trains in New Orleans

by Jim on 2011/09/25

[Jimbaux knows that there is a house in New Orleans called the Superdome.]

Living Like Birds In The Magnolia Trees

The song, performed five years ago today, still makes me cry, gives me so many goose bumps.  It’s hard for people not from southeastern Louisiana to understand the emotional charge that song on that night meant, five years ago tonight.

If you’re plenty like Jimbaux (and thank your lucky stars if you aren’t), you’re not really a big sports fan, and you might not know that the Saints beat the Texans today in the Superdome on the five-year anniversary of that historic game on that historic night, the night that the Saints had their first home game in nearly two years, the first home game since Hurricane Katrina, and the Superdome’s first event after it was so damaged by the storm.

Not being a big sports fan myself, I didn’t have really any plans to watch the game until that afternoon.  I decided to watch the game at one of my favorite New Orleans bars, Cooter Brown’s, right by the New Orleans Public Belt Railway trackage.  Just before going inside for the game, I saw this:

I’m not sure what BNSF light power was doing moving on the NOPB like this, but I suspect it was going across the river to pick up an intermodal train in Bridge City.

For Every Reason . . . Turn . . Turn . . Turn

Cooter Brown’s was packed that night.  As ESPN’s pregame show was on, it kept showing pictures of flooded neighborhoods in New Orleans, and everytime it did this, collective groans were heard as people momentarily turned away from the TVs until ESPN started talking about football again.  I did the same.  I didn’t want to look at any of that stuff and think about any of it, and nor did any of those other people.  This was our night, dammit!

There Is A Gleason . . . Turn . . Turn . . Turn

I vividly remember the place absolutely erupting when Steve Gleason, who recently revealed that he is suffering from ALS, blocked the punt that led to a touchdown on the same place.  I thought the roof was going to explode off the top of the bar.  It was a night, five years ago tonight, that few in New Orleans will ever forget.


I stepped outside before the game ended (the bed was calling my name, especially as I had been up early that morning, needed to be up early the next morning, and had drank a few pints of Guinness at Cooter Brown’s) to get some pictures that show why this is my favorite bar in the city.

The bar is just to the left of that building on the left, and there are some tables outside that are good places to eat, drink, and watch trains (but not television.)

I’m not sure why this NOPB light power job stopped here; he must have been on his way back from delivering a cut of maritime containers from the Port Of New Orleans to the Canadian National Railway at Mays Yard, but I really don’t know.

It’s a safe bet the the owners of 90% of the automobiles seen in these two pictures were inside Cooter Brown’s watching that historic game.

Well, I hope that you enjoyed this brief, unique look into New Orleans life, railroad life, and my life, on this historic day – five years ago today.  That’s all the pictures for now.


Not long after I published “Write It Down” – my parody of “Wipe Me Down” by Lil Boosie – in May, a friend alerted me to the educational rap duo of Beans-N-Frank.  Check out the duo’s work at its website, join the Facebook fan page, and tell ’em that Jimbaux sent you!


While I’m plugging DC-Baltimore-area musical acts, here’s the latest from my pal Bomani Armah.  Check it out.

Saints And The Future

I actually had thought seriously about getting out to the Superdome today and photographing and interviewing some of the tailgaters to put on the NOLA Post, a publication that is begging for me to breathe some life back into it, but I elected to use the time to do other stuff instead, including, partly, to watch the game, take a walk (which is easy to do when the streets and sidewalks are quiet because most people are either in front of the TV or at the Superdome), and do some chores.  Still, it may be something I’ll do in the future, and I am thinking about starting to cover high-school football on the NOLA Post.  Sounds like a plan?  Time will tell.

Speaking of Facebook fan pages, if you’re not on the fan page for Jimbaux’s Journal, please click the below badge and then click like once you are on the page!:


Promote Your Page Too

In the meantime, as I’ve been writing plenty lately, I’m tired of all of this and will be happy when my 9/11 project ends.  (You’ve seen Part 1 and Part 2 already, haven’t you?)  It makes me think of another song that was performed that fateful night five years ago tonight at the Superdome: Wake Me Up When September Ends.

All for now . . .



1 Philip Clement September 26, 2011 at 13:08

I agree you should photo and cover more sporting events!

2 magnolia September 26, 2011 at 18:49

i remember watching that first game back so clearly. i was here in DC, by myself in my living room. i had come home early from work to watch the whole thing. i cried like a baby pretty much the whole pregame, and man, when gleason blocked that punt? there aren’t words.

when i read that times-pic article, it was such a gut-punch. ALS is so horrific. it’s heartbreaking…

3 Paul Jaenicke September 8, 2012 at 11:47

Hi Jim,
I’m an IC rail enthusiast and was planning on writing an article about the Bonnet Carrie Spillway for the IC Historical Association. They have a publication called the Mid-American that comes out sporadically. I was wondering if you know much about the CN operations in this area and would be willing to share this. Also if you have a picture of an IC, CN or Amtrak train going over the Spillway, I would give you credit for it. I myself do not get any compensation for writing other than getting my name mentioned on the front page.

Thanks so much,
Paul Jaenicke

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