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THE

Defender Picks

 

VENDREDI

May 26th

Bayou Country Superfest

Mercedes Benz Superdome, 11AM

Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton, Rascal Flatts and many more

 

Magazine St. Art Market

Dat Dog, 4PM

Happy hour + local art

 

Royal Street Stroll

200-900 Blocks of Royal St, 530PM

Led by the Krewe of Cork

 

YP Family Game Night

Urban League of Greater New Orleans, 6PM

Game night for young professionals and their families

 

Toonces and Friends

Marigny Opera House, 7PM

An orchestral journey through time

 

Spektrum Fridays

Techno Club, 10PM

Featuring J.DUB’L and residents Erica and Rye

 

New Thousand + Adrian

Balcony Music Club, 11PM

Violin centered hip hop

 

Free Music Series

Fulton Ally, 10PM

Featuring Bubl Trubl

SAMEDI

May 27th

Palmer Park, 10AM
The May edition of the monthly art market
 
New Orleans Jazz Market, 3PM
Light bites, drinks, DJs
 
Bar Redux, 7PM
Horror, fantasy, and spiritual movies from 13 countries
 
Bacchanel Fine Wine and Spirits, 7:30PM
Progressive jazz from one of the cities best
 
The Howlin Wolf, 8PM
Improvisational funk music
 
Joan Mitchell Center, 8PM
Monthly open mic
 
The Orpheum Theater, 9PM
Tremaine The Tour with support by Mike Angel
 
Santos Bar, 10PM
Mind expanding multi genre music

DIMANCHE

May 28th

NOLA MIX Records, 11AM
Teaching kids to DJ and produce beats
 
The Courtyard Brewery, 3PM
Raffle, silent auction, craft beer
 
Mags on Elysian Fields, 7PM
A new series dedicated to pushing the limits of contemporary music
 
Three Keys, 7PM
OC cabaret goes Sci-Fi
 
UNO Lakefront Arena, 8PM
Celebrating the 20th anniversary of her debut album
 
One Eyed Jacks, 10PM
Remixes, edits and originals of Fleetwood Mac
 
Rare Form, 10PM
Vintage sounds of American Root Music

Playoffs, Popeyes Calling for Saints in Chilly Philly


Carnival doesn't start until Monday, but the New Orleans Saints are already steppin' out with new suits and Popeyes. The Black and Gold are in Philadelphia for Saturday's NFC Wild Card playoff clash with the third-seeded Philadelphia Eagles (7 p.m., NBC). Rather than blocking out the postseason distractions, the Saints are fully embracing the hype -- as long as it means they don't have to talk about how they've played on the road.

 

As the week started, WR Robert Meachem mentioned a meal of Popeyes chicken the players had before their Super Bowl win in 2010. By Friday morning, the entire locker room was enjoying Al Copeland's recipe.

 

 

Sean Payton acknowledged that the Saints' nutritionist wasn't likely to approve, but even the laser-focused head coach was acknowledging the intangibles. Lauded for his attention to detail, Payton started the week by saying numerous elements surrounding the players would be taken into consideration.

 

"We are going to look at, shoot, everything from what we eat, the Gatorade color we are choosing, the sweats we are wearing, and we will change all of that," Payton said.

 

The coach was especially comfortable talking about the new sweatsuits when the topic of the team's road play came up. Meanwhile, Brees even said he was willing to change up his famed Beefy Mac recipe.
 

 

Asked whether it affects the team when the media keeps bringing up the
fact that the franchise has never won a road playoff game, Payton was
more concerned with other threads.

 

“Once they try on the sweatsuits I think they are going to realize, man, the way they fit, you ought to see them, they're pretty special," Payton said.

 

Ever tenacious, Payton wouldn't relent on the topic of the sweatsuits when away games came up. So, a reporter asked him straight up if he was trying to dodge the question.

 

"Our road record since 2006 is pretty good. I think our road record since 2009 is pretty good," the Coach said. "But I think it would have been better if we had been wearing these sweatsuits, too."

 

To keep their season alive, the Black and Gold will also have to change up their attack on the field Saturday night, as RB Pierre Thomas was listed out for the game with a chest injury. Along with his prowess catching the screen pass, Thomas' 549 yards were the most production the Saints got out of a member of their stable of running backs on the ground during the regular season.

 

Darren Sproles is perhaps even more dangerous on the screen, but neither he nor Mark Ingram have been as consistent as Thomas between the tackles this season. The Eagles rank dead last in the league pass defense, so the Black and Gold will likely be able to do plenty of damage if the offensive line can give Brees enough time to look down field. But the frosty conditions (gametime forecast: 26 degrees) and road environment will likely make the run game important when it comes to ball control and wearing out a tough defensive front that includes Trent Cole -- who registered 8 sacks over the last 8 weeks -- and former SEC terror Fletcher Cox. Tough pass rushes in St. Louis, Seattle and against the New York Jets took the Saints out of their rhythm in prior road losses, so the blockers' ability to protect their QB could become a huge factor.

 

Along with the pass rush, the Saints have also seen their rushing defense carved up in their road losses. The front seven has risen to the occasion against hard-nosed NFC backs like San Francisco's Frank Gore, but was gashed by the likes of the Jets' Chris Ivory and St. Louis' Zac Stacy. On Saturday night, they'll be tasked with shutting down the NFL's leading rusher in Lesean McCoy. Shady, who racked up a pair of league-best stats with 1,607 rushing yards and 2,146 all purpose yards, has thrived under first-year head coach Chip Kelly's up-tempo offense. Never one to line up the tackles and run straight at the defense, the former University of Oregon coach deploys his featured backs in a variety of looks that even the creative Payton isn't used to seeing.

 

"This is a unique offense though in the type of runs you’re receiving compared to maybe a more conventional run list that you might see on a week-to-week basis," Payton said. "Finding your gaps and being on top of where the runner is, all those things are important.”

 

The other key to Kelly's transition to the NFL has been QB Nick Foles. The second-year signal caller out of Arizona rose to the starting spot when Michael Vick was plagued by injuries, but has quickly adapted to the up-tempo style that is known for alignments that will look unusual (even to Saints fans) and snapping the ball as quickly as possible after it's placed. In preparation, Rob Ryan's Saints defense has also been in a hurry this week, and it's not just because they had less time than usual between games.

 

"Nobody is practicing at a faster tempo than us in the history of football so I think we will be ready to go," Ryan said. "I know they will be faster than I have ever seen, but that's fine.”

 

For all of Foles' hurrying, however, Brees remains ahead. Though it was ten years apart, the two attended the Westlake High School outside Austin, Tex. Often fond of recalling his first taste of glory upon winning the state championship, Brees is very familiar with Westlake's record ever since -- including the year where a Foles-led went to the championship game and lost.

 

"I know they went to at least three or four state championships after my class left. They haven’t won another one though," Brees said. "We have the only state championship victory."

 

On Saturday, Brees can ensure that he remains the only of the pair with a Super Bowl victory, as well. The elder Westlake alum can stay a step ahead by keeping the ball out of Foles' hands early in the game. Another characteristic that has remained constant in the Saints' last three road losses is early turnovers that came out of number 9's hands.

 

With a +12 turnover ratio during the regular season, the Eagles' defense will be licking their chops to pounce on a Breesus transgression.

 

"I definitely say there is something with momentum on the road especially when you are in a hostile environment," Brees acknowledged. "Don’t give them a reason to get excited. Don’t give their fans a reason to stand up and get crazy."

 

In the regular season finale against Tampa, the Saints clocked an early touchdown to set the tone. The early TD was also a hallmark of the 2009 season, which laid down a path to glory.

 

"I think one of our things is we really haven’t started fast on the road and that is something certainly we can improve on,something we are focusing on and that can be a big part of our success too," Brees said.




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Contributors

Renard Boissiere, Evan Z.E. Hammond, Dead Huey, Wilson Koewing, J.A. Lloyd, Joseph Santiago, Andrew Smith, Cynthia Via

Photographers


Art Director

Michael Weber, B.A.

Editor

Alexis Manrodt

Listings Editor

Linzi Falk

Editor Emeritus

B. E. Mintz

Editor Emeritus

Stephen Babcock

Published Daily