As my colleague, Gus Kattengell, noted yesterday: pretty much any defensive player the Saints chose with the 15th overall pick in the NFL Draft would have been an improvement on last year's historically bad defense. So New Orleans surprised no one by picking a defensive player and chose someone many consider to be the best safety in the draft, Kenny Vaccaro of the University of Texas.
Obviously, less than a day since he was drafted, it's impossible to tell what kind of impact Vaccaro will have on the Saints' secondary. Now, college football and Saints experts and die-hard fans can tell you all you need to know about Vaccaro's Longhorns career and what pundits are saying about his athleticism. But since all parties involved want this to be a long-term and prosperous relationship, it's appropriate we go a little deeper. So here are three facts about the Saints' new Safety.
1. He has over 40 tattoos, most of which are religious — Last season, some idiot wrote a ridiculous article about San Francisco's Colin Kaepernick and his tattoos, once again proving that stereotypes die hard. Physically speaking, a glance at Vaccaro can remind you of the 49er's quarterback. Like Kaepernick, Vaccaro's arm tattoos are mostly about family and religion. Texassports.com reported that Vaccaro's tattoos "include a depiction of [Jesus] Christ reigning on earth through a sketch of Jesus holding the world together, the quote, "Walk by faith, not by sight," and the recognition of sin existing in the world by an image of the earth being broken open." Vaccaro's ink also references his mother and late father.
2. He has two connections to the Washington Redskins - Remember the Saints opening game last season? The one that proved to be Redskins' quarterback Robert Griffin III's coming out party and the first evidence that the Saints season was going to be a bad one? Yea, you'd be forgiven if Who Dats have blocked that one from memory. But while at the University of Texas, it's likely that Vaccaro was watching the game and rooting for Griffin. That's because they grew up together and have been friends for most of their lives. Now Vaccaro is playing for the team Griffin lit up for 320 passing yards last season.
Vaccaro's connection with Washington go even deeper. His uncle, A.J. Johnson, played on the 1992 Super Bowl Champion Redskins as a defensive back.
3. He's a prolific Instagrammer - Since joining the social picture site six months ago, Vaccaro has uploaded over 260 photos (and counting). The pictures range from memes to adorable shots of his son to humor and even an artsy piece or two. OK, it's not high art or a professional photographer's Instagram, but he's young and already has more photos online than any other Saints player. So there's that.
The 2013 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival is finally here (finally!), and we've got all you need to know to have fun at the New Orleans Fair Grounds (and after).
Lagniappe: Check out our Jazz Fest 411 to find out what you can bring and what you can't, Big Red Cotton's guide to Fair Grounds second lines during Jazz Fest and Will Coviello's breakdown of all the fundraising concerts during these exciting two weekends.
How much stuff is there to do during the first weekend of Jazz Fest? Lots. Noah Bonaparte Pais broke it all down for Eric Paulsen on the WWL Eyewitness Morning News. Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires, Deerhunter, Oblivion with Tom Cruise ... and, of course, all the fun at the Fair Grounds.
Trojan has taken its "Pleasure Cart," which resembles a hot dog stand, to major cities including New York, D.C. and Boston, where it was initially greeted with resistance from the mayor. Recently it stopped in San Francisco and Los Angeles to provide a "tax day stimulation package."
New Orleans Saints fans no doubt see the start of the NFL Draft as finally a turning of the page to a forgettable and gut wrenching season. As Saints players conclude their second week of “voluntary” offseason condition programs, the team is hoping to once again find talent that will help build a winning football team.
The Saints have five picks as they head into the draft. The 15h overall pick in the first round, the 75th overall pick in the third round, the 109th pick overall in the 4th round, 144th overall pick in the fifth round and in the sixth round the 183rd overall.
A QUICK LOOK BACK
Linkasaurus is an irregular feature spotlighting some New Orleans- and Louisiana-related stuff you might want to read. No pressure.
• The blog He Said/She Said has an entry called "Why Jazz Fest is the Best Fest." LINK!
• Over at NOLA Femmes, LunaNola notes the plans for the site of the World Trade Center downtown and asks, "Why do the powers-that-be of New Orleans feel the need to change what is frequently referred to as 'the most unique city in America by imitating attractions found in other cities?" LINK!
• Scott McKay of The Hayride says this photo from Belgium "looks like the decline and fall of the West, doesn't it?" LINK!
• On the day that the George W. Bush Presidential Library opens, CNN pundit (and New Orleans native) Donna Brazile defends the former president, saying "Bush came through on Katrina." LINK!
• From the New Orleans Fair Grounds: "Eight horses that raced at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots this past season are aiming to make their next start in the Kentucky Derby," which will be run May 4. LINK!
The name of the new boutique bakery P’s and Q’s stands for pies and quiches, though your nose could probably decode the specialties here without that bit of intel. Walk into this tiny storefront near Whole Foods Market’s Uptown location and the aroma of buttery dough starts to tell the tale.
New Orleans native Betsy Foster Matthews opened P’s and Q’s just last week. It’s a small, walk-up operation where the bakery case and counter hold a half dozen or so different types of savory and sweet pies each day. Most are available in palm sizes for single servings and larger sizes for the table.
Second line parades sponsored by the social aid and pleasure club community are put on hold during the two weeks of Jazz Fest. The unfortunate reality here is that there just aren’t enough cops on the force to handle the neighborhood parades along with the city’s general crime issues and Jazz Fest. But the good news is the SAPCs put on 30 minute mini-parades several times a day through JazzFest’s main path (unless otherwise noted) during the festival. No, its nowhere near the outrageous four hour long, 1,000+ mobile bodies extravaganza. But its still exciting footwork, great music and bookoo fun.
Below is the schedule of Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs (and Indians too) second lines. Bookmark it!
(schedule details below the jump!)
Southern Rep has announced its 2013-2014 mainstage season.
Michael Cooper will direct Moises Kaufman's musical play about Ludvig van Beethoven's Diabelli Variations.
Pride and Prejudice
Oct. 23-Nov. 24
Southern Rep stages Jon Jory's adaptation of Jane Austen's classic.
Jan. 8, 2014-Feb. 2, 2014
Peter Sinn Nachtrieb's political comedy explores spin and manipulation.
The Night of the Iguana
March 26, 2014-April 20, 2014
Southern Rep artistic director Aimee Hayes and Mike Harkins star in the Tennessee Williams classic.
The golf course will occupy 40% of City Park.
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