Sunday, February 7, 2010

Fleur Power

Today is something called the Super Bowl. I really don't know much about it but I know it involves a ball so I think I might like it.

One of the teams in the Super Bowl is the New Orleans Saints. I love New Orleans. The city. Not the team. I don't know anything about the team. Well I do know one thing about the team. Their symbol is the fleur-de-lis. That caught my attention because I learned recently that my little girl, Pandora, has taken the formal name Deep Acres Fleur-De-Lis. This will be the name she uses when she competes in dog shows and, maybe, just when she wants to show off a bit. My formal name is Campo Dei Fiori. That's Italian for Field of Flowers. My parents chose it for me because when I am walking or running my coat looks like a field of flowers blowing in the wind.
Above: Deep Acres Fleur-De-Lis

I know that the New Orleans Saints symbol is the fleur-de-lis because I read all about it in the New York Times today. You know why I love New Orleans? There are chicken bones everywhere in New Orleans. It must be some sort of Cajun ritual to suck the meat off and then toss the bone out the car window. There was one sorta grassy median in the middle of the street near our hotel that was literally filled with chicken bones. It drove Angus and Roxie and me crazy. To our very sensitive noses it smelled like chicken and grease and pure delight. We had never smelled or seen anything like it before and haven't since. I don't know why but my parents never took us back to that sorta grassy median in the middle of the street near our hotel in New Orleans again.

Here is the New York Times article:
Saints Aren’t the First to Call on Fleur Power

The fleur-de-lis will be showcased in Sunday’s Super Bowl as the symbol of the Saints.
But it is much more than just the logo of a modern-day football team. Throughout history, the fleur-de-lis has represented many things, including royalty and religion. The symbol, an artistic representation of a flower (a lily or an iris), has been found on ancient Greek and Roman coins.
Like an inkblot in a psychological test, the fleur-de-lis of the Saints can have several interpretations. Some may see it as a most aggressive flower or as the tip of a spear or an arrowhead.
New Orleans players like it but vary in their awareness of its meaning. Linebacker Jonathan Vilma said he did not know of its floral origin. Linebacker Marvin Mitchell called it a “fleur-de-leaf.”
Defensive end Bobby McCray said: “It’s not like all the other logos in the N.F.L., like a simple animal or something like that. This is pretty distinguished.”
Drew Brees, the quarterback of the Saints, called the fleur-de-lis “a big part of what New Orleans is all about” because it is a symbol of the culture dating to French rule.
In that Brees has been intensely involved in rebuilding the city in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, he acknowledged that the fleur-de-lis has emotional and spiritual resonance.
“It’s just like when you look at the American flag and you sing the national anthem,” Brees said. “When we see the fleur-de-lis, it makes us well up with pride.”
Fleur is the French word for flower and lis is lily. But the pronunciation is a matter of some dispute. Americans typically say “fluhr duh LEE.” But in French, it is “fluhr duh LEES.”
Many legends about the fleur-de-lis and its original use are obscured in the mists of history. Scholars have debated it for centuries.
It came into focus as a representation of French royalty after Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne as emperor in 800 A.D. Much of its symbolism gravitated toward Catholicism.
It is sometimes seen in depictions of the Virgin Mary through association with the lily.
Joan of Arc, it is said, carried banners into battle that showed the fleur-de-lis. Drawings show her wearing a hat adornedwith them.
The fleur-de-lis is often associated with North American places like Detroit, Quebec and Louisiana, which were settled by French explorers. In sports, the Quebec Nordiques wore it on their uniforms.
The logo for the Boy Scouts of America uses it, and so has at least one sorority.
The Saints have worn fleur-de-lis since their inception in 1967 but have enhanced the design in recent years. According to the team’s media guide, the emblem in the first season appeared only on the helmets. It appeared on jerseys and pants in 1986.
Now, the fleur-de-lis can be seen in six places on their uniforms: on each side of the helmet, on each shoulder and on each side of the pants, on the stripes, at the hips.
Its effect is enhanced in the context of the uniform colors: gold, black and white. Ed O’Hara, a senior partner with SME Branding in New York, said he loved the Saints’ color scheme and logo.
“Black and gold is classic,” said O’Hara, who designs logos and uniforms for sports teams. He said black was fierce.
O’Hara said he admired logos that he called simple and iconic.
“I see the fleur-de-lis as more than a flower,” he said. “It’s a symbol of a whole people.”
Saints running back Reggie Bush agreed, saying: “It does not just represent the Saints. It’s amazing. You see it everywhere. You see it on churches and in restaurants.”
Linebacker Scott Fujita said the symbol delighted his 2-year-old twin daughters.
“When they see the fleur-de-lis around town, the first thing they say is, ‘Go, Saints!’ and ‘Who Dat?’ ” Fujita said.
Jonathan Casillas, another linebacker, said of the logo, “I love it, man” and called it “very powerful.” He also said he was impressed to see women with fleur-de-lis tattoos.
Darren Sharper, a defensive back, said that if the Saints win the Super Bowl, he will get a fleur-de-lis tattoo, “so I guess I’ll be a New Orleans Saint forever.”