For years, yours truly was labeled a "bad luck charm" for local teams … at least when it came to covering them on the road. Jacques would go to city A, to cover team B and that team would certainly lose and often times get crushed.
I could almost hear my coworkers laughing at the alleged "Doucet Curse" from Baton Rouge. Heckling text messages were guaranteed to immediately follow. "Have a nice trip back", a sarcastic jab from WAFB's esteemed promotions manager Chris Blades immediately comes to mind. Blades sent the message just as the LSU men's basketball team was drilled in the opening round of the 2005 NCAA tournament by UAB. Considering I was traveling back from Boise, Idaho … it was hard to imagine any "nice trip back". Indeed, the journey ended up being a nightmare. I missed my connect flight in Salt Lake City, Utah and was forced to spend the night there. To kill time, a local suggested a couple of "hot spots" loaded with "beautiful women" for me to check out on that Saturday night. Having spent my entire life in Louisiana, I can assure you these establishments were certainly not hopping and the ladies not exactly up to our standards. I awoke to sheets of snow the next day and it was late March. Trips like these seemed common circa 2001-2005.
Thank goodness those days are over. "The Doucet Curse" ended in Tempe, Arizona on September 10, 2005.
LSU made a furious rally at Arizona State to beat the Sun Devils in Les Miles first game as the Tigers head coach. After blowing up with "Uh Oh" and "Not looking too good!" text messages in the third & fourth quarters … my cell phone fell mysteriously silent after the Tigers 35-31 triumph.
Since then, road trips have been MOSTLY fun. From covering four straight victories that spanned from Jacksonville to Atlanta during LSU's thrilling and unlikely trip to the 2006 Final Four, to an epic football shootout against Alabama in Tuscaloosa that vaulted Tigers toward the 2007 national championship…the road has been pretty good. There was a somewhat shocking LSU Peach Bowl rout over Georgia Tech in 2008 and of course … the Saints Super Bowl 44 ecstasy against the Indianapolis Colts in Miami.
This Saturday we travel to the Northeast for the Saints Sunday contest at the Baltimore Ravens. It's not far from another road trip we made a year ago that ended in a miraculous victory.
The Washington Redskins had the game in their back pocket late in the fourth quarter. All they needed was a chip-shot 23-yard field goal by Shaun Suisham to gain a 10-point cushion and hand the Saints their first loss of their season. He missed. Drew Brees hit Robert Meachem with a deep TD pass … overtime. Redskins fumble, Saints get it. Brees leads a march, Garrett Hartley nails a point-blank kick ... New Orleans wins 33-30.
It was without question a landmark moment during the Black & Gold's magical 2009 season. WAFB was there to capture all the excitement and send it back home. I was certainly glad we made the trip.
This Sunday, we hope to have more happy news for you against the Ravens. The temperatures will again be in the 30's, just as they were in DC a year ago. A Saints victory with likely lock up a second straight playoff berth and the third in five years for Sean Payton as the head coach.
So, will the Who Dats deliver another WAFB win? We'll see.
If they don't, just blame me.