What an AWESOME compilation!!! Be sure to check out Eirik's post on how he made it!
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Workers carefully lowered the final girder into place Wednesday for the John James Audubon Bridge over the Mississippi River, linking Pointe Coupee and West Feliciana parishes with a ribbon of steel and concrete rather than just a ferry crossing.
Opposing spans of the bridge gradually have extended from the east and west banks for most of this year and finally neared each other within the past week.
“We set one girder last night, so we know it fits,” Project Manager Frank Daams joked as workers prepared to lay the girder on the downstream side of the span Wednesday morning.
Bridge workers paused for photographs in front of the 45,000-pound steel beam before a crane moved it into place with guidance from a construction crew on the deck. The girder was decorated with a large banner noting the milestone.
The main span — 1,583 feet in length — is the longest cable-stayed span in the Western Hemisphere.
“It’s an engineering marvel,” said Richard Savoie, chief of the state Department of Transportation and Development’s engineering section.
Savoie said the key features of the bridge are the two 500-foot-tall towers built a short distance from each bank and their foundations, which extend deep into the river bottom. The massive cables that hold the bridge deck and girders in place are anchored to the towers.
The cable-stay design allows the bridge to cross a busy waterway without causing any hindrance to the barge traffic passing beneath, Savoie said.
“It doesn’t hinder commerce at all,” he said.
Motor vehicles now cross the river between New Roads and St. Francisville on a ferry that will cease operations when the bridge opens.
Louisiana voters approved the bridge and 15 other projects in 1989 in a package called the Transportation Infrastructure Model for Economic Development, known as TIMED, and funded by a 4-cent-per-gallon gasoline tax.
Audubon Bridge Constructors, a joint venture of Flatiron Corp., Granite Construction and Parsons Transportation Group, won the competition to both design and build the bridge.
Work began in May 2006, and Louisiana TIMED Managers, consultants for DOTD, now estimate the project will be finished in late 2011, spokesman Bill Grass said.
Grass said the most recent cost estimate for the bridge is $409 million.
Although the spans are now connected about 130 feet above the middle of the river, the bridge still is not accessible to vehicular traffic because additional work is needed to complete the deck.
Now that the spans are connected, “a lot of adjustments” will be needed to the alignment, Daams said, and the remaining opening between the two sections may not be completely bridged until next week.
“The east span has been pulled back a bit. We’ll let it come back tomorrow,” Daams said.
While crews worked to tie the spans together, other workers were busy preparing the additional cables that will be attached to the new girders.
The total length of the bridge and its approaches will be 2.44 miles, consisting of four lanes with 8-foot outside shoulders and 2-foot inside shoulders, according to an LTM news release.vThe project also includes 12 miles of new roadways that will connect U.S. 61 in West Feliciana Parish to La. 1 in New Roads. The route required construction of seven smaller bridges on the east bank.
The new 9-mile La. 10 connector in Pointe Coupee offers better access to three existing roads, La. 1, La. 10’s business route and La. 981, an LTM news release says.
The Pointe Coupee section may open for local traffic in January or February, Grass said.
“I think this is fabulous. This is a big moment for West Feliciana and Pointe Coupee parishes, and really the whole Zachary Taylor Parkway,” said Scot Byrd, economic development director for the Greater Pointe Coupee Chamber of Commerce.
The bridge is the centerpiece of the proposed parkway, for which supporters envision having La. 1 and La. 10 widened to four lanes between Alexandria and Interstate 59 in Mississippi.
The Audubon bridge is the eighth Mississippi River crossing wholly within Louisiana, the LTM news release says, while bridges also cross between Louisiana and Mississippi at Natchez and Vicksburg.
The Louisiana Legislature named the bridge after John James Audubon, who painted 32 of his “Birds of America” series while residing at Oakley Plantation in St. Francisville in 1821.
A movement is under way to rename the span in honor of Lt. Gen. John A. Lejeune, of Pointe Coupee Parish, and Gen. Robert H. Barrow, of West Feliciana, the 13th and 27th commandants of the U.S. Marine Corps, respectively.
What an impressive display of engineering this is! I can't wait to drive across it once it's completed!
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Christmas has had a long and varied history. It was been celebrated for centuries by different people, at different times, in different places, and in many different ways. Here you will find links to information about the different ways that the holiday we know as Christmas has been celebrated, or not celebrated, over the years.
Regardless of the very interesting origins and history behind it, Christmas is a Christian holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. While we're enjoying all of our gifts and traditions, let us not forget the real reason for the season!
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Monday night or early Tuesday morning, depending on your location, many around the world were able to witness a phenomenal and rare total lunar clips, watching as the Earth passed directly between the sun and the full moon, shrouding it in shadow and transforming the white image into a stunning deep red glow. The event was especially significant as it coincided with the winter solstice, something that hasn't occurred in 372 years, and won't come around again until 2094.
Well, I'm not sure how the cloud cover affected our local area, cuz I crashed before midnight! =( Oh well, the pics sure do look cool!
Tuesday, December 07, 2010
PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii – As a gentle breeze binds the scent of oil and tropical air, Paul Rom rises from his wheelchair and grabs hold of the rail. The sky and water nearly match in brilliant blue and just feet a way an American flag whips atop the mast of ship still watching over the harbor. With a little help Paul gazes just to his left, the front gun turret rusted, but visible above the water and the smells from 'the tears of the Arizona' drift up from below. For Paul, a native of the Bronx, this is his first and likely last trip back to Pearl Harbor since his service so many years ago and he has come at a time many in this dying club will say their final goodbye's.
They all have stories. From swimming through oil infested waters ablaze from explosions, to serving on other parts of the island...watching in horror as the Japanese surprise attack 69 years ago killed more than 2,400 of their friends and colleagues, including children and other civilians. For so many the years have gone by so fast and you can literally see the memories on their faces as they go into a near trance while looking over the site. All around the island and around this harbor bombs fell and gunfire ripped through everything in site. Two hours and two waves of Japanese planes later, 188 U.S. aircraft and 21 ships were either destroyed, or severely damaged and we had been brutally thrust into the war in the Pacific.
We have come here for the 69th commemoration at Pearl Harbor for two reasons...the obvious is the memorial that will be attended by about 100 survivors and their last official visit here, but also to witness the dedication of a brand new facility to remember their fight and America's resolve. You see four years ago when we came for the 65th anniversary, our crew noticed the visitors center had seen better days and that's putting it lightly. Big chunks of concrete had fallen from numerous areas and parts of the center were literally sinking back into Pearl Harbor. A fund had been established and every effort was being made to raise 50-million dollars to replace a museum and site that had seen much better days. We pitched the story idea and planned a return.
Just a few months later, we would be back at Pearl Harbor and tell the story and the efforts being made to rebuild before the last survivors were gone and many of you donated money to see that the project would be finished in time. Thankfully the money came in and the center was replaced, so we get another humbling opportunity to meet the survivors and their families as they come to see the new place and remember those lost. First and foremost this is all about seeing the men and women of the great generation and secondly to see the site that will ensure their efforts and fight will not be forgotten. As Park Ranger Candace Francis says "If we don't remember what happens, we do lose our past."
I will say this...if you haven't been here to see this amazing site before, the new World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument/Pearl Harbor Visitor Center is more than a must-see. If you have been here, you will not recognize the place on a return trip. The facility is downright beautiful and open and gives the visitor the feel of a modern, yet nostalgic trip through time. The new Museum is interactive and spectacular, boasting artifacts from the attack like a ripped open Japanese torpedo, or a door from inside the USS Arizona. There are theaters, pictures, interviews with survivors, a research education center and openness that allows all who come here to peacefully reflect. The site couldn't be more impressive for a group of men and women that witnessed one of the most horrifying, yet historic events in American history.
Never forget what our fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers went through for this country! Learn their history, or it will fade away...
Monday, December 06, 2010
What was rumored for a week and considered almost a foregone conclusion once Texas A&M snared the opposite spot finally came to fruition Sunday.
LSU and the Aggies are ready to renew an old gridiron grudge match that has sat dormant for 15 seasons.
The 11th-ranked Tigers (10-2) and No. 18 Texas A&M (9-3) will tangle in the 75th Cotton Bowl at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on Jan. 7. The game kicks off at 7 p.m. that Friday and is the only bowl game on that date.
Played at the home of the Jerry Jones-owned Dallas Cowboys, the bowl game is the renewal of a series that dates back to 1899 but hasn’t been played since the 1995 season opener.
LSU and the Aggies have played 49 times, but the series stopped after 1995 for a variety of reasons — and depending on who you ask about it.
There have been rumblings for years that LSU officials not only backed out of the series after losing a fifth straight game to the Aggies, but also have not paid a beefy withdrawal fee contractually required to end the series.
Regardless of what bad blood might remain, the Tigers and A&M don’t have to worry about contracts or money owed 32 days from now. The only thing on the menu will be football in a stadium considered one of the largest and most opulent in the world.
Cowboys Stadium is also the site of Super Bowl XLIV on Feb. 6 and is where LSU will open the 2011 season when it tangles with Oregon on Sept. 3.
“This will be a wonderful setting to showcase our talents in prime time with two really good teams,” said LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson, who will likely play his final game for the Tigers. He is projected as a top-10 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. “It’s going to be a lot of fun, especially with our fans coming into ‘Jerry World.’ I am looking forward to it, and I can’t wait until we get down there after New Year’s. I want our fans to come out too. It will be a blast for them.”
Tailback Stevan Ridley added: “Playing in the Cotton Bowl in Cowboys Stadium is going to be an awesome experience. Any time you play a team outside your conference, especially a team the caliber of Texas A&M, it gets you fired up. They come from a competitive conference in the Big 12, and I’m sure they will pack the place with their fans nearby. I hope our fans can grab up some tickets too. It’s going to be a special experience playing in a stadium that size.”
LSU is in the Cotton Bowl for the fifth time overall and the first time since losing to Texas 35-20 on Jan. 1, 2003. This is the Aggies’ 11th appearance, their first since a 38-7 drubbing at the hands of Tennessee on New Year’s Day in 2004.
The fact both tradition-rich programs were available made the matchup irresistible to the bowl organizers.
“This was one of those years where everything really fell into place,” Cotton Bowl Chairman Tommy Bain said.
“I can’t wait to see the atmosphere at Cowboys Stadium in prime time on Jan. 7.”
The anticipation began building among LSU fans for a potential Cotton Bowl bid after the regular season ended with a 31-23 loss at Arkansas, halting the Tigers’ hopes for a BCS bowl berth. Then when A&M officials announced last week they had accepted a Cotton bid, the anticipation turned into a frenzy.
Brian Broussard, LSU’s assistant athletic director of ticket operations, said last week that Tigers’ fans had requested about 15,000 tickets for the Cotton Bowl — 2,500 more than each school is allotted.
“We sold every ticket we had to this game, and they went quick,” Broussard said. “There is obviously a lot of excitement about going to play in the Cotton Bowl against Texas A&M.”
Cotton Bowl President Rick Baker added: “We formally announced Texas A&M last week, and the phone lines started to light up like a Christmas tree. With the announcement of LSU and the game now being a sellout, I couldn’t imagine a better way to celebrate 75 years.”
The excitement certainly isn’t limited to the fans who figure to flock to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.
LSU coach Les Miles takes a second team to the Cotton Bowl. His 2003 Oklahoma State club squared off with an Eli Manning-led Ole Miss team in 2003 with the Rebels claiming a 31-28 triumph.
Miles is taking LSU to a sixth bowl game in a row, part of a school-record 11-year bowl streak. The Tigers are 4-1 in bowls under Miles after a 19-17 loss to Penn State in the Capital One Bowl last year.
“The Cotton Bowl is one of the all-time great college bowl games, and to be able to participate in what is the 75th anniversary of this legendary game will be special for our team,” Miles said. “The hospitality is second to none, and the atmosphere is no different than if you were playing in the national championship game.
“I’m excited, and I know that our players are excited about this opportunity. Texas A&M has an outstanding program, and we are looking forward to renewing our longstanding rivalry with them.”
This will be the 50th meeting between the two programs in football. LSU leads the series 26-20-3 and won the only other bowl meeting: 19-14 in the 1944 Orange Bowl.
The Tigers have won 10 or more games for the 10th time in school history and are seeking a fourth year with 11 wins or more under Miles.
Texas A&M is coached by Mike Sherman, who spent six years as the coach of the Green Bay Packers (2000-05) before returning to College Station, where he was an assistant three times under Aggies’ coaching legend R.C. Slocum.
A&M’s 9-3 record is the best of three seasons under Sherman, and the Aggies are seeking to end a five-game bowl losing streak that dates back to a 28-9 triumph against TCU in the 2001 Galleryfurniture.com Bowl in Houston. They have lost their past three bowl meetings with SEC foes, with Independence Bowl losses to Mississippi State (2000) and Georgia (2009) sandwiched around the loss to Tennessee on their last visit to the Cotton Bowl.
The Aggies shared the Big 12 Conference South Division championship with Oklahoma State and Oklahoma this season despite a rough midseason stretch. The Aggies’ three losses came consecutively Sept. 30-Oct. 16 to Oklahoma State, Arkansas and Missouri — three teams that take 10-2 records into their bowl games. Texas A&M bounced back to notch wins in November against both Oklahoma (33-19) and Nebraska (9-6), the two teams that played for the Big 12 crown Saturday.
Texas A&M finished the regular season with a sixth consecutive victory by outlasting bitter rival Texas 24-17 on Thanksgiving night, a win that helped punch a ticket to the Cotton Bowl.
“The matchup with LSU presents a great challenge against a very talented and well-coached opponent,” said Sherman, who was an assistant when the Aggies played in three straight Cotton Bowls from 1992-94. “Our players are very aware of the Tigers’ success and look forward to this game.
“Playing in the same stadium which will host the Super Bowl soon after our game allows our players to experience a unique national spotlight in one of the best venues in all of sports.”
It's going to be a very exciting game… I can't wait!!! Be sure to check out LSU vs. Texas A&M: At a glance and the LSU Bowl History for all the numbers.
I think the best part about LSU playing the Aggies again is that we can bring back all of the old Aggies jokes!!! Such as…
- Did you hear about the Aggie terrorist who tried to blow up the LSU team bus? He burned his lip on the tailpipe.
- What is the difference between the Aggies and Rice Crispies? Rice Crispies know what to do in a bowl.
- How many Aggies does it take to screw in a light bulb? One, but he gets 3 hours credit.
- Did you hear about the skeleton they found in a closet in one of the dorms at A&M? It was the 1963 hide-and-go-seek champion!
- Why don't Aggies eat barbecue beans? Because they keep falling through the holes in the grill.
- How many Aggies does it take to eat an armadillo? Two. One to do the eating, and one to watch for cars.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
NEW YORK (AP) -- Drew Brees was honored as Sports Illustrated's sportsman of the year for his championship on the field and his charity off it.
Brees became the award's 57th recipient when the magazine made the announcement Tuesday on the "Today" show.
The quarterback led the long-suffering New Orleans Saints to their first Super Bowl title in February, lifting the spirits of the hurricane-battered city.
But the cover story notes he's done much more than inspire with his brilliant play. Since Brees joined the Saints in 2006 months after Hurricane Katrina, his foundation has worked with nearly 50 New Orleans schools and organizations to aid in recovery.
"The more that I've learned about the award and that it goes well beyond what you accomplish on the field, that it's very much about what you do off the field as well, with community service and your family, makes the award even more special to me," Brees said.
Brees is the fifth NFL quarterback to be honored and third in six years.
The Pittsburgh Steelers' Terry Bradshaw won in 1979, the San Francisco 49ers' Joe Montana in 1990, the New England Patriots' Tom Brady in 2005 and the Green Bay Packers' Brett Favre in 2007.
Sports Illustrated Group editor Terry McDonell said he had been "determined not to be a slave to a calendar" in considering NFL players, even though it might seem like an eternity between the Super Bowl and the announcement of the award. But Brees' contributions outside of football made this selection easy.
"It's year-round for him," McDonell said.
Brees will be recognized at a ceremony in New York on Tuesday with past winners including Bill Russell, Curt Schilling and Montana.
How many more honors can this guy get??? Congrats, Drew… you deserve it!!! Geaux Saints!
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
A new state flag, featuring a more angular pelican tearing its bleeding breast to feed its young, was unveiled Monday during the swearing-in ceremonies of two state officials.
The flag's design is similar to the existing flag but the brown pelican, the state bird, is more sophisticated and has three red drops of blood flowing from its breast, said Jacques Berry, chief spokesman for Secretary of State Tom Schedler's office.
The new design was required by a bill passed by Rep. Damon Baldone, D-Houma, during the 2006 legislative session based on the historical research of Joseph Louviere, a Houma student, which indicated the existing pelican seal did not have the bird tearing at its breast.
Historical descriptions of the blue flag include the three drops of blood, described as a sign of the state's willingness to sacrifice itself for its citizens. The design goes back to medieval times, when people believed pelicans fed chicks with their blood.
Unveiling the new flag took place at the conclusion of the dual inaugurations of Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, who had been secretary of state; and Schedler, who served as Dardenne's first assistant and was sworn in as secretary of state.
Berry said that the secretary of state's office, which is charged with keeping the state seal, will order about 25 new flags at first for use by the office, its museums and the State Archives Building.
He said he will notify the state agencies that the new flags are available, but each department or board will need to order them on its own.
It will be up to the individual agency to decide when to order the new flags and how many to order, Berry said.
As a result, new letterheads bearing the new symbol will also be reordered, Berry said, but probably as existing stock dwindles and has to be replaced.
The 2006 law requires the depiction of the pelican "tearing its breast to feed its young" to include "an appropriate display of three droops of blood."
Cool! Looks a lot better than the old one!
Thursday, November 11, 2010
For 90 years, the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month has been a remembrance of those who served America in time of war.
But the Nov. 11 Veterans Day commemoration began as a day to celebrate peace — the silencing of the guns of World War I, "The Great War," which claimed the lives of more than 15 million soldiers and civilians.
On that day in 1918, at the 11th hour, Germany signed an armistice with the Allied Powers — including the U.S., France, Britain, Japan and Italy — ending major hostilities in a war that nearly wiped out a generation of men.
A full peace was concluded the next year in France at the Palace of Versailles, and the first Armistice Day was proclaimed and celebrated by President Woodrow Wilson on the anniversary of the ceasefire: Nov. 11, 1919.
It was fully established by Congress as a legal holiday in 1938.
But Armistice Day honored veterans of only World War I, essentially ignoring millions of soldiers who served in peacetime or fought in World War II, Korea and other engagements.
So in 1954 Congress extended the holiday to honor all vets, giving it the name Veterans Day, which it has kept for 55 years.
Today, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are some 23.2 million veterans in the United States. That includes 2.6 million who served during World War II, 2.8 million who served in the Korean War, 7.8 million in the Vietnam War, 5.2 million in the Gulf War and about 1.7 million who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Nearly 120,000 are still stationed in Iraq, and about 68,000 will be deployed in Afghanistan by the end of the year, according to the Census.
Just one American veteran who served in World War I is still alive: 108-year-old Frank Buckles, who drove ambulances in England and France after enlisting at the age of 16. Buckles also fought in World War II and was taken prisoner by the Japanese.
Always honor our veterans... they have fought for our freedom and deserve our respect at all times!
Saturday, November 06, 2010
Around the Bowl and Down the Hole... Roll Tide Roll!
Julio Jones and Patrick Peterson say their matchup Saturday will be must-see TV.
It’s No. 5 Alabama’s wide receiver Jones against No. 12 LSU’s star cornerback Peterson. Saturday afternoon. At LSU’s Tiger Stadium.
“It’s going to be a great night of football, cornerback and receiver,” Jones said.
Added Peterson: “Julio and I will be back at it again. Two years ago, it was phenom freshman against phenom freshman. We had another phenomenal battle last year. He knows how I play, and I know how he plays. I’ll give it my all. I’m sure he’ll give it his all.”
This is Round 3 in the head-to-head matchup of one of the Southeastern Conference’s top receivers and arguably the nation’s premier cornerback. The two principals have expressed nothing but mutual respect for each other during the buildup.
Jones called Peterson “by far” the best cornerback he has faced. Peterson said Jones looked like NFL star Andre Johnson in his last game.
Expect some NFL scouts, along with the fans, to keep an eye on the matchup between two big, physical stars. Both juniors are projected as first-round draft picks either after this season or next.
Jones said there will be plenty of one-on-one showdowns, like the previous two meetings.
“They have some guys who can fly around, but I’ll really be dealing with Patrick the whole game,” he said.
Jones has had huge plays and 100-yard games against LSU each of the past two seasons. As a freshman, he outjumped Peterson for a 24-yard catch in overtime that set up the winning touchdown.
Last season, Peterson was sidelined with cramps when Jones took a screen pass 73 yards for the decisive touchdown in the fourth quarter.
“I was going on the field, and one of the coaches pulled me back,” said Peterson, a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe Award. “It was too late in the play clock for me to go on the field and the other guy to come off. When Julio scored, I said ‘Aw, man.’ It was a great effort by Julio.”
It was one of two unhappy memories the LSU star has from that game. He had a near-interception on the sideline, but officials ruled he was out of bounds. The call was confirmed by replay review, setting up an Alabama field goal in the 24-15 win.
“I have definitely erased that play from my mind,” Peterson said. “It was no interception. Alabama got the ball. There was nothing I can do about it. It’s the official’s call. The ref has the final decision.”
Jones has happier memories: Namely, 11 catches for 230 yards in the previous two wins against Peterson & Co.
He is coming off a school-record 221-yard game against Tennessee.
“Julio is a man among boys,” Peterson said. “He’s 6-4, 220. It doesn’t get better than that. He’s got great speed and great hands. He’s physical at the line. Against Tennessee, he looked like Andre Johnson out there. He was diving across the field for balls. It was his breakout game.
“All good receivers have certain routes they run. I feel confident that I know what he’s going to do. There is understood respect between us. I don’t talk to him, and he doesn’t talk to me.”
Peterson said teams have been avoiding him, but expects that to change this week.
He has two interceptions and a blocked kick, but doesn’t have any pass breakups. Peterson estimates opposing teams are only throwing about two passes a game at whoever he’s covering.
“Maybe with Julio,” he said, “I’ll get at least 12.”
Peterson also is one of the nation’s top return men, taking two punts back for touchdowns and averaging 27.5 yards on kick returns.
“Patrick Peterson is one of the best defensive backs in the country,” Tide coach Nick Saban said. “He’s a great return guy, too. I think he’s a physical guy. He’s got great athletic ability, size and speed for his position. But he’s also a very instinctive, good player all the way around. He’s got great ball skills, good ball judgment, he’s a good tackler and he can cover.
“Those are the three critical factors for a defensive back. He’s got them all covered.”
Jones ranks second in the SEC with 669 yards on 45 catches. He faces frequent double-teams, but expects plenty of solo matchups with Peterson. LSU coach Les Miles said he doesn’t expect to shadow Jones but will “mix and match” coverage.
“Julio Jones may be one of the top receivers in the country and is having a great year,” Miles said. “He is really lately playing his best.
But, he added, “Hopefully, at the right times we’ll have Patrick Peterson on him.”
Another year, another epic SEC battle pitting LSU against Alabama on national TV. Games like this are why College Football is SO MUCH better than the NFL!
Geaux Tigers!!! BEAT SABAN!!!
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Halloween's origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in).
The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom, and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31, they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future. For a people entirely dependent on the volatile natural world, these prophecies were an important source of comfort and direction during the long, dark winter.
To commemorate the event, Druids built huge sacred bonfires, where the people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities.
During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other's fortunes. When the celebration was over, they re-lit their hearth fires, which they had extinguished earlier that evening, from the sacred bonfire to help protect them during the coming winter.
By A.D. 43, Romans had conquered the majority of Celtic territory. In the course of the four hundred years that they ruled the Celtic lands, two festivals of Roman origin were combined with the traditional Celtic celebration of Samhain.
The first was Feralia, a day in late October when the Romans traditionally commemorated the passing of the dead. The second was a day to honor Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. The symbol of Pomona is the apple and the incorporation of this celebration into Samhain probably explains the tradition of "bobbing" for apples that is practiced today on Halloween.
By the 800s, the influence of Christianity had spread into Celtic lands. In the seventh century, Pope Boniface IV designated November 1 All Saints' Day, a time to honor saints and martyrs. It is widely believed today that the pope was attempting to replace the Celtic festival of the dead with a related, but church-sanctioned holiday. The celebration was also called All-hallows or All-hallowmas (from Middle English Alholowmesse meaning All Saints' Day) and the night before it, the night of Samhain, began to be called All-hallows Eve and, eventually, Halloween. Even later, in A.D. 1000, the church would make November 2 All Souls' Day, a day to honor the dead. It was celebrated similarly to Samhain, with big bonfires, parades, and dressing up in costumes as saints, angels, and devils. Together, the three celebrations, the eve of All Saints', All Saints', and All Souls', were called Hallowmas.
Halloween is my favorite holiday of the year!!!
Thursday, September 09, 2010
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — If you are planning to do any work in New Orleans on Thursday, forget it.
City Hall is closed, schools are closing early, the Superdome is spruced up, a parade, concert and hours of tailgating are planned as the Who Dat Nation gets ready to celebrate — after a 43-year wait — beginning the NFL season as the defending Super Bowl champion.
The Saints, long the laughing stock of the league, have finally justified the faith of their longtime fans and sparked an almost cult-like devotion in their hometown.
A number of city schools are closing early, citing the traffic problems the Saints-Minnesota Vikings game will cause. Catholic schools are planning afternoon pep rallies. No one would predict what they expected attendance to be on Friday, the day after the game.
The Saints' website says larger crowds than usual expected in downtown New Orleans.
The Super Bowl XLIV World Champion New Orleans Saints have issued an advisory to patrons attending the New Orleans Saints versus Minnesota Vikings game.
Due to the expected above-average vehicle and pedestrian traffic in and around the downtown area, the Saints want fans who are attending the game to know that it will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to attend the NFL’s Parade and concert and still make it to their seats for Pre-Game festivities and kickoff, including the unveiling of the Super Bowl Championship Banner.
Traffic is expected to be very heavy and parking spots will be limited, as is typically the case surrounding Saints’ home games.
In addition, fans are advised that Superdome Lot #3 will be closed to public parking this game.
Due to the expected increase in the number of people who will be in the New Orleans area for the Parade and Concert, but not attending the game, moving throughout the French Quarter and Central Business District is expected to take longer than it normally would.
(All times listed are Central Daylight Time, just in case you're a Saints' fan reading this in Hawaii, London or some other far away location.)
The NFL’s Kickoff Parade will begin at 5 p.m. to be followed with a concert featuring The Dave Matthews Band and Taylor Swift at Jackson Square.
Details for those seeking more information on the parade and the concert are at http://www.nfl.com/kickoff.
Pre-game festivities in the Dome will begin at 6:30 p.m. with NBC Pre-Game Show and will feature the unveiling of the Saints Super Bowl XLIV banner.
Champions Square will open at 3 p.m. on Thursday and will feature drink specials, cuisine from various local restaurants and Saints programming, including:
* 3-4:30 p.m.: Special airing of NFL Film’s presentation “America’s Game: 2009 New Orleans Saints” and highlights of the 2009 season and Super Bowl.
* 4:30 p.m.: Tom Benson, with Vince Lombardi Trophy, greets fans and welcomes them to Champions Square
* 4:40-6:30 p.m.: Bucktown All-Stars
* 5 p.m.: Kickoff Parade
* 6:30 p.m.: Pre-Game Concert featuring The Dave Matthews Band and Taylor Swift at Jackson Square.
* 6:30-7:30 p.m.: Pre-Game Show live from the Superdome
* Postgame: Champions Square Stadium Show live from Superdome
I hope we don't hurt Favre too bad tonight!