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The Sporting Life


New Orleans and New York were once the most sporting cities in America. What New Orleans had going for it was a sense of "joie de vivre" - joy of life - for which the French had become famous. The legalized brothels in Storyville were famous sexual circuses in grand mansions built by the most famous architects of the day, owned by local government officials and run by famous Madames.

New Orleans was home to a dozen race tracks, countless gaming houses and more bars and taverns per capita than any city on American soil: a statistic it continues to hold to this day.

In a Gilded Age,the fleur would be printed on playing cards, etched in wine glasses, painted on ladiesfans, worn on broaches, pinned on tignonsand fashioned into extravagant wigs and hats. Long white gloves might have embroidered fleurs at the buttons. Mens shoe buckles, vests, cigar boxes and carriages were emblazoned with the fleur de lis.

The fleur would not only become a symbol of the region, it would be incorporated as a symbol of many of the sporting teams and societies of the day. Today the fleur is the symbol of the New Orleans Saints. Few NFL fans understand that the symbol on the side of a helmet is, in actuality, a royal dynastic symbol. Or that the Saints refer to the Catholic Saints. The Saints may not win every game, but it doesn't hurt to have King and God on your side.