With enough courage," Rhett Butler said, "you can do without a reputation." Alas, New Orleans' elected leaders haven't shown much of the former, which gives the rest of us waaaay too much of the latter -- particularly after some of the events of 2006.
What else can you say about a city that re-elected Ray Nagin and Bill Jefferson. We constantly blame our leaders for not leading, yet we keep putting them back into office -- proving a point made by Scarlett O'Hara: "Dreams, dreams -- always dreams with you, never common sense."
And so it went all year long, as New Orleans struggled through the early days of its Second Reconstruction. Only this time, we're trying to get the federal government -- and its money -- to come and stay as long as possible.
But hey, at least the Saints have had a great season. They're going to the playoffs with a new coach, a passel of great rookies and a swagger that Rhett Butler himself would envy. So fiddle-dee-dee, the recovery can wait. If we have to lie, steal, cheat or kill -- and God knows that's our reputation -- these recovery blues are not going to lick us. Yes, as God is our witness, we'll never be losers again.
Then again, tomorrow is another day. So before it gets here and exposes our foibles once again, let's take one last look back at one of the strangest years in memory.