I had December 26th circled on my calendar for my New Orleans return for over a month. The Pelicans were hosting the Indiana Pacers and it was NOLA Music Legend George Porter Jr.'s (Funky Meters) 75th Birthday show at The Fillmore. Right after seeing my family in North Louisiana and Mississippi Delta, it was perfect.
There's no denying I am one lucky SOB. But even I have not had any kind of a hookup quite like sitting in the Chairman's Club at the Pelicans home games. (My buddy has 2 season tickets.)
I was sitting on the baseline by the Pels bench with my feet on the wood for the first time. Pels C Jonas Valiciunas wife and two kids were on my right. It was GLORIOUS! Before the game, I was eating chilled lobster with drawn butter in the Chairman's Club by Saints All Pro DE Cam Jordan. My mind was so blown away it felt as melted as the butter.
The Pelicans were a 1.5 point favorite and playing without Zion, Brandon Ingram, Herb Jones & Trey Murphy. DID NOT MATTER.
After trailing 14-6 early, New Orleans went on a 37-9 run demolishing the Pacers. The game was never closer than 20 after that. The depth on this team is outstanding! And all of them play hard. It is impossible not to like guys like Larry Nance Jr. & Jose Alvarado.
I bet the Pels -1.5 and Over 10.5 Valiciunas Rebounds. Both cashed. The Pelicans are now 21-12 & battling at the top of the West.
The atmosphere in the Smoothie King Center (The Blender) was a huge time even on a Monday night after Christmas. The upper deck was packed. New Orleans has embraced the Pelicans and this run is just starting with both Zion and Ingram locked up. I literally cannot say enough about how fun these games have become. It is basically a huge old school NOLA rap dance party in there and I cannot get enough of it!
After the game, I headed to The Fillmore for George Porter Jr.'s sold out 75th Birthday Show. I have been seeing George for years on Monday nights at the Maple Leaf and all over New Orleans. He is a founding member of The Funky Meters one of the all time New Orleans bands.
I hope I look this cool at 75… hell I hope I am alive to be honest!
I arrived around 10pm for the final 2 hours of the show. It felt like a mini Jazzfest in there. George had a total of 27 musical guests join him for the celebration and the vibes were immaculate!
I caught the Meters set with Ivan and Cyril Neville sitting in. The highlight was easily "Ain't No Use" with Cyril Neville and Erika Falls serenading George Porter in the middle. Then there was a Grateful Dead set with Oteil Burbridge (Dead & Co.) Steve Kimock & Papa Mali. The highlight was easily George Porter soulfully singing "Sugaree".
I was in such a good mood all night. How could I not be? When it is right in New Orleans…. it is right! Let the good times roll in 2023 and beyond!