It just keeps on getting bigger and bigger. This year's Gleason Gras might have been the best one yet. Yes, of course it rained...it always does. I swear, for 15 minutes we all looked around in disbelief as one dark cloud hovered above Champions Square, refusing to go away. It's become somewhat of a tradition...there can't be a Gleason Gras without a downpour of some sort. Anyway, it only lasted a few minutes and had zero effect on the turnout.
The rest of Gleason Gras was a smashing success. I can only compare it to last year (which was awesome), but there seemed to be at least four times as many people out there. And for good reason...everyone from Kevin Griffin of Better than Ezra to MyNameIsJohnMichael to Anders Osborne and Galactic killed it on stage, not to mention all the Saints greats that showed up, and of course, the man himself, Steve Gleason. So many great characters came out to show their love...it just felt great. And honestly, I don't know if this kind of love and support could happen anywhere else. New Orleans may be Steve's adopted hometown, but he has earned his right to be called a native son. The people love him and embrace him as their own, and it shows.
I feel honored to able to work with such a great organization like Team Gleason. There are so many great people doing so many great things that I feel very honored to do the very little that I do. Steve Gleason gives it his all every time, and to put it simply, he just makes you want to be a better person. I've written about Steve and his struggles before, so I won't go into it again, but he continues to be one of my greatest sources of inspiration. He is just an awesome dude, and he refuses to let a little thing like ALS get in the way of his life. Sure, it adds a bit of time to his daily routine, but he has accomplished so much and has plans to accomplish so much more. He truly proves that no excuse is good enough, and that is something I needed to be reminded of on a daily basis.
Anyway, here are the pictures from the night. Enjoy!
Steve's 1965 Mustang from high school. It's been beautifully restored and is up for auction. Apparently he was even cool back then.
The Tulane Marching Band would swing by.
MyNameIsJohnMichael rocks the house.
Kevin Griffin from Better than Ezra plays solo.
The 610 Stompers are awesome. I could barely take pictures I was laughing so hard. I promise you, I will be a 610 Stomper one day. I was inspired.
Not quite sure what to think.
Anders Osborne, killin' it as usual.
You can't say Frenchy doesn't get into it.
My favorite Frenchy yet.
Turned out to be a beautiful evening.
The great Rickey Jackson.
"Sunshine and water, in case you were wondering." -Scott Fujita on what hair products he uses
Trombone Shorty showed up to say hello (and sign my prints!).
The judging of the costume contest.
Here's to Steve!
Sorry ladies, Thomas Morstead is a taken man.
I can tell you that Thomas Morstead is another great human being. He's always there.
Josh Elliot from GMA even had a few words.
This was one of the greatest moments of the night. Steve's old college coach flew in to surprise Steve on stage, and I think it worked. He gave a great speech about the last time he saw Steve this skinny, and what a great player he was to coach. It was funny and heartfelt. He then leaned in and had a great moment with Steve, which you could tell he loved. We should all be so lucky to have people like this in our life. What a great thing.
Drew Brees fixes Morstead's mohawk...this is what good friends are for.
Drew tosses a bomb.
Blair and Scott, the two heros of the Machu Picchu trip. The NFL Films documentary that followed them on their journey airs this Tuesday on the NFL network. Don't miss it. Watch a preview below:
Drew Brees has become quite the auctioneer.
John Carney, still a beast.
Galactic closes Greason Gras 2013.
One of my favorite pictures of all time!