Extra Points

So one of the best kept secrets about this year's RT is the seemingly unorthodox decision on the part of the possibly Schlitz-addled organizers to make room in the schedule for a Sports panel. Why would they do this, you ask? Well other than its clever placement at the end of the day for the sake of a smooth transition into cocktail hour, it actually fits the program quite well. I don't necessarily speak for everyone involved but the reason I wanted to have a sports panel at this Rising Tide was because I think it dovetails well with the overall theme (particularly that of the first panel) of taking the city's cultural pulse, so to speak, four years after the Federal Flood.

In planning this conference we asked ourselves the question "Are We Ok Yet?" meaning what aspects of our lives in New Orleans have reacquired a functionality similar to what they exhibited before the flood? What has been lost? What has been preserved? And so forth. Our "Culture" panel asks these questions about New Orleans's folkways; its parading culture and its food and music traditions.

I think that sports also plays an important role in the civic and cultural life here. Our experience as fans or as athletes helps us define part of what it means to be New Orleanians. I'd like to talk with our panelists about how that identity has been affected by the flood. Have some things been lost or gained? Has sports been a psychic or substantive aid to recovery? Or has it been a distraction and a drain on resources?

But it isn't all heavy stuff. There will also be plenty of time to argue over how many games the Saints will win, whether or not the Hornets should have traded Tyson Chandler, and how soon is too soon to fire Les Miles.

Our sports panelists are Chris Wiseman, Alejandro de los Rios, and Leo McGovern. Chris is an avid and thoughtful sports fan and New Orleanian. His personal blog is called World Class New Orleans. Alejandro is a young professional journalist who writes and blogs about the local sports scene for the Gambit. Leo is a bit of both of those things. He is the editor and publisher of ANTIGRAVITY Magazine where he manages to fit in a fair amount of sports commentary among the usual alt arts and music coverage.

So if you haven't registered for Rising Tide yet, do it now. If you have, do it again just to be sure. And stick around with us for a bit of fun at the end of the day. Hope to see you there.

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