Tracy Porter, Super Bowl Hero, Honored by Port Allen with a Parade and Street

Randy SavoieAnalyst IIFebruary 28, 2010

(Port Allen, Louisiana)

Port Allen, La. sits in on the West Bank of the Missisippi River directly across from Baton Rouge and in the shadows of LSU Tiger Stadium where National Championships have been won.

Although Port Allen is only one hour west of New Orleans, it may as well be a million miles away.

Two different worlds.

New Orleans is Cosmopolitan. Port Allen was country before country was cool.

And as you walk up the levee bank across from Port Allen City Hall and glance across the river at Tiger Stadium, you wonder how the hero of Super Bowl 44, Tracy Porter, managed to get away from LSU and find his way to Indiana University.

Maybe he was a late bloomer. A story for another day.

On this gorgeous, sunny, late winter, Louisiana February afternoon, 40,000 people have turned out to honor their favorite son, Tracy Porter, with a parade of course. After all, this is Louisiana and nobody does a parade better than Louisiana.

It was the largest event in this small town's history and the police looked a little shell shocked.

It was the Super Bowl for the Port Allen police department judging by the looks on their faces.

Do you have a pass to be in this lobby sir?

No officer I don't. When should I report to prison?

Porter's first love during his youth in Port Allen was basketball as the locals tell it.

The New Orleans Saints are thanking the Good Lord these days that first loves usually don't last. It was at Port Allen High School that the head coach discovered Porter may have a talent for football.

Not too many years later, Porter would intercept the likes of Brett Favre and Peyton Manning in the playoffs as the Saints marched toward their first Super Bowl victory in franchise history.

Porter's 74-yard interception against Manning with 3:12 remaining in the Super Bowl sealed the Saints victory. It was only the biggest play in team history this side of Tom Dempsey's 63-yard field goal to beat the Detroit Lions in 1970.

So, the least they could do is throw you a parade and, hell, name a street after you and on Sunday they did all of that and lagniappe as they say in these parts.

"I don't want to violate any law but we're going to name a street after Tracy Porter," joked Port Allen Mayor Derek Lewis. None of the city council members objected and the crowd roared its approval. Then, Mayor Lewis handed Porter a long, blue street sign with "Tracy Porter Street" emblazoned in white letters.

Porter told the hometown crowd, "We worked so hard to get to this point and to see the amount of people who came out to show their appreciation. We just want to say thank you and we love you."

Then, Porter and co-honoree Saints CB Randall Gay, who played at nearby Brusly High School and LSU, were whisked away to a VIP party on the third floor of city hall where they signed autographs until nightfall before leaving in a limousine into the clear and cold Baton Rouge night as fireworks erupted over the Mississippi River.

Porter and Gay: "Everyman a King for a Day" as the ole' Kingfish Huey Long would say.

You could feel the ghost of Huey in the crowd or maybe it was just the combination of beer and jambalaya.


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