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Category 5 Hits New Orleans!

Jan. 1, 2001

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (www.hurricanesports.com) – –

New Year’s Eve was for the tourists. New Year’s day was for the fans.

After the bedlam of the previous night, I figured it would be tough to top it. The day started normally enough, as we woke up (some understandably a lot later than others) and a few of us headed off to breakfast. After three tries we finally found a decent place with a nice breakfast selection.

We went our separate ways following breakfast, but many of us ended up at Silky O’Sullivan’s, a tavern hosting the official `Raisin’ Cane Party. The place was packed with UM Fans. At about 4:00 pm there was a tremendous pep rally right on the street in front of the tavern. The Band of the Hour played fight songs and the cheerleaders were helping the fans get into the `Cane spirit.

The entire band, the color guard, cheerleaders, Sunsations and of course, Sebastian the Ibis led the Canes fans through spirit songs. It was great to be surrounded by Canes hundreds of miles from home.

As it grew dark, a good friend and I hit the streets with two objectives: to find cheap relatively decent food without the hassle of being seated and find a stuffed gator to beat up on at the game, large enough to be seen by everyone but not too large to be unaffordable.

After a couple of hours of walking, we had been unsuccessful in both cases. Finally, we decided to trudge from the Quarter to Canal Street, the main street, to eat at McDonald’s. I spotted a Chinese restaurant, and as a last resort we checked it out. Then it was back to the Quarter to find our stuffed gator. We had been looking for over a day, and we didn’t even remember which shops we had already hit by then. We made a repeat trip to one shop that had a huge stuffed gator mounted on the wall. The day before, the guy working there said it was not for sale. Tonight, there was a different man working the desk and we decided this was our last chance.

At first, he also said it wasn’t for sale, but you could tell he didn’t have the same passion in his voice the other guy did. So, he grabbed a ladder and took it down. The gator was 4 and a half feet long. After some bargaining we bought the stuffed gator for $30.00. The giant stuffed gator was ours! We brought it back to the Marriott and borrowed a broom and vacuum to clean the thing.. After a good 20 minutes our gator was clean. Too bad we’d have to kill him the next night.

Having achieved our two objectives and being thoroughly satisfied, we went back to Bourbon Street. The night before the street was absolutely packed. But after the New Year had passed, many of the tourists and one-night visitors had vanished, leaving the street in the hands of the fans.

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It seemed as if everyone on the street was a fan of one school or the other. Cheers and chants echoed from one end of the street to another. Our group of 10 molded with other Canes fans, and though Gators outnumbered us we held our own with C-A-N-E-S spell-outs, `Let’s Go Canes’ cheers and chants of 4 to 1 and obvious reference to Florida’s national championship tally.

We must have gone back and forth with UF fans for three hours. It was incredible fun, and our spirit was tremendously high as we set straight fans of a school that had its head handed to it by both Florida State and Mississippi State.

By 1:30 a.m. or so, the crowds of fans had mostly dissipated, with Canes fans going back to their hotels, Gator fans to their holes. It had been a truly memorable night, one in which we were surrounded by friends and united in our love for the Hurricanes.

Dec. 18th entry

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