NEW ORLEANS — While a blimp hovers not too far in the distance, circling over tens of thousands of Super Bowl revelers, Christopher Weaver looks around at the neighborhood where he was born and raised and almost died.
He loves this place, probably more now than he did back in 2005, before Hurricane Katrina tried to wash it all away.
But it’s not much to look at, that’s for sure.
“You can see it for yourself,” Weaver moaned to a reporter, staring Friday at all the vacant lots, overrun with weeds that are taller than he is, at all the abandoned shells of former homes, many of them still marked with the spray-painted “X” that became the grim symbol of a great American city nearly wiped off the map.
“I’m going to be honest with you,” he went on. “It sucks here. Just look across the street. Nothing.”
In many ways, New Orleans has come back stronger than ever since Katrina. The restaurant scene is thriving. The hotels are packed. The Superdome has received a glamorous makeover. The French Quarter rocks into the wee hours night after night.
But as the Big Easy prepares to host the party-slash-national holiday it does like no other, it’s worth remembering that life has not yet returned to normal for everyone here.
“It’s like a tale of two cities,” said Mike Miller, who works with the homeless group Unity of Greater New Orleans. “It’s hard to believe that seven years later, it still looks like this.”
Provider never saw Lewis use deer antler spray
The man who reportedly supplied Ray Lewis with deer antler spray can’t confirm the Baltimore Ravens linebacker ever used the stuff.
Asked if Lewis ever tried deer antler spray, Ross said, “I never saw him put it in his mouth,” said Mitch Ross, the owner of Sports With Alternatives To Steroids.
Lewis has denied ever using the substance.
Ravens at peak efficiency
With one obligatory walk-through left before the Super Bowl, the Baltimore Ravens are operating at peak efficiency as they draw closer to Sunday’s game.
The Ravens breezed through a 65-minute practice session Friday, and afterward coach John Harbaugh could barely contain his enthusiasm.
Asked for his review of the practice week, Harbaugh said, “It was an A-plus. A-plus-plus.”
49ers finish practice early
The San Francisco 49ers wrapped up their final practice before the Super Bowl a little early Friday, with a walk-through set for Saturday.
Coach Jim Harbaugh got his team off the indoor field at Saints headquarters 15 minutes early, spending a total of 40 fewer minutes practicing this week than during a regular-season schedule.