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22. RETURN OF THE YEAR
• 2011 Saints season with Payton: 13-3, 1st place in NFC South
• 2012 Saints season sans Payton: 7-9, 3rd place in NFC South
• 2013 Saints season with Payton: 10-3, 1st place in NFC South (so far)
23. DELAY OF THE YEAR
Ray Nagin trial
Former Mayor Ray Nagin was indicted on more than 20 counts of bribery and other corruption charges back in January, but his trial has been delayed longer than The Governor's Wife. In October, U.S. District Judge Ginger Berrigan granted another delay, scheduling Nagin's trial for January 2014 — a third postponement. (For those who need reminding: Nagin was charged with six counts of bribery, one count of conspiracy, one count of money laundering, nine counts of wire fraud and four counts of filing false tax returns.) The question now is whether a plea deal will be reached.
24. TEMPEST IN A
TIP JAR OF THE YEAR
Drew Brees tip scandal
Anything Saints quarterback Drew Brees does makes news. So when he tipped $3 on a $74 bill at a San Diego restaurant in July, a photo of the receipt went viral on social media. What a cheapskate, right? Well, not so fast — Brees pointed out that it was a takeout order and tweeted, "Had we sat down it would have been 20%+." That subsequently ignited a discussion on tipping for takeout orders (should you or shouldn't you; if so, how much) and Brees told the media that if Tipgate was the biggest controversy he'd have to face all season, he'd be happy.
25. NEW FEST OF THE YEAR
Buku, take 2
March's Buku Music + Art Project's sophomore effort proved a bigger, louder and more ambitious version of its 2012 predecessor. Multiple stages (including a psychedelic, cavernous bass-heavy lair in the float den) at Mardi Gras World hosted names like Public Enemy and Kendrick Lamar, with rising stars Calvin Harris, Kid Cudi, Passion Pit, Icona Pop and alt-J winning over thousands of sunglass-wearing teenagers wearing furry leggings and all-over neon.
Neighbors didn't rush to celebrate its success: the festival, camped along the Mississippi River, was apparently so loud it shook windows downtown and in other neighborhoods. The high volume was a trend repeated at the Voodoo Experience, which moved its stages to City Park's new festival grounds" — close enough so Mid-City residents could watch Nine Inch Nails and The Cure from their porch or lawn chairs along Bayou St. John. Or if you wanted to stay home in Lakeview or Old Metairie, you could hear it clearly.
26. DANGEROUS SINGLE-CELLED ORGANISM OF THE YEAR
A brain-eating amoeba that once again showed up in the Chalmette water supply resulted in a flushing of the water system and the addition of chlorine to starve the amoeba.
27. RENTAL OF THE YEAR
$1600/month efficiency apartment
In a year that saw rents and home prices go through the roof in metro New Orleans, a November ad on Craigslist may have taken the cake. A 700-square-foot basement apartment in the Carrollton neighborhood with sink and toilet just off the living room was listed for $1,595 per month. Did the owner get the money? Who knows. The good news? Utilities were included.
28. OVERHYPED NON-EVENT
OF THE YEAR
Would it be a Category 1? A nasty tropical storm? In October, New Orleans steeled itself for Hurricane/Tropical Storm Karen, which formed off the coast of Cuba and made rapid progress toward the Gulf Coast. As it turned out, Karen was a most welcome visitor — her "landfall" brought on one of the most pleasant weekends of the year and resurrected an old photo meme: a plastic lawn chair tipped delicately on its side, as if by the tiniest puff of breeze, with the legend: HURRICANE KAREN: NEVER FORGET.