I tried to pick up an assignment when I came back to New Orleans in late November 2009, but there were none to be had. While I could have gotten a pass for the Saints games, I opted instead to watch at Vaughan's Lounge, my bar of choice just around the corner from our house in the Bywater. I had been going to Vaughan's for 15 years, and it was not unlike the saloon in William Saroyan's 1939 play, "The Time of Your Life," to which the characters retreat to escape the cruel world outside. I've watched many games there--baseball, basketball, and football--but this was clearly special. There was a joy and camaraderie that I had never seen before. As the season progressed, the Saints kept winning: 10-0, 11-0, 12-0, 13-0. They finally lost a couple of games, perhaps relieving a little pressure, and finished the season 13-3, securing the number one seed in the NFC.