Posts Tagged ‘Hurricane Katrina’

We Visit “The Real Housewives of New Jersey”‘s Brownstone For A Super Bowl Party, And Why We Cheered For The New Orleans Saints

February 8, 2010

The Brownstone is owned by Real Jersey Housewife Caroline Manzo's (second from left) husband. She and her sister Dina (far right) are married to brothers.

We just got back from a great Super Bowl Party that was held at the Brownstone in Paterson, N.J.

If you didn’t watch Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of New Jersey,” then that doesn’t mean anything to you.

But if you were a fan, like us, you know that the Brownstone, a beautiful catering hall, is owned by the husband of “Jersey Housewives” Caroline Manzo, whose sister Dina was also on the hit reality show. Some scenes from “Housewives” were shot at the Brownstone.

We looked, but didn’t see, either of the Manzo sisters, who are married to brothers.

The Super Bowl party, held by New Jersey State Rep. Dave Russo, R-40th District, was more like a wedding, with several hundred people. The room was huge, with beautiful table settings and down-and-dirty Super Bowl food — mini-hamburgers, sausage and peppers, hot dogs, chicken fingers, cotton candy, you get the idea.

We were invited by dear friends who are friends of Assemblyman Russo. We helped out by selling raffle tickets at the shindig, and had a hunch that we would win something (we are aligned with the source). And we did win item No. 28, our lucky birthdate number, which was a gift basket with various cheeses.

We left after halftime, and got home in time to see the New Orleans sail to victory. In between munching on fattening french fries, we had been rooting for them.

First of all, the hell with the Colts, they beat the New York Jets. But more importantly, we love New Orleans.

In our prior life, we were assigned a story to go down to NOLA just about two months after Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005. The story was to not only describe how Cox Cable in New Orleans got its system back up and running after the deadly storm, but to convey the emotional impact this tragic disaster had on Cox employees.

We loved New Orleans and had been there often before Katrina. And the resolve and resilence of the Cox crew post-Katrina was inspiring.

These are people who, after being evacuated to Baton Rouge, watched Katrina on TV and broke into tears when they recognized flooded areas and realized their homes were under water.

One Cox dispatcher, still inside the Big Easy, saved more than 100 people by rescuing them with his duck boat.

After the storm the Cox GM, Greg Bickett, at one point was trying to get his operation in order while also arranging for the body of one of his employee’s relatives to be moved from a street downtown to a mortuary.

“It was just this Kafka-esque kind of moment,” Bickett told us back then.

Katrina had done more than $115 million in damage to Cox’s New Orleans system, and we wrote a series of stories on the cable company’s comeback, including this one and this one.

The Cox folk took us to areas the public was still barred from, and we stood on New Orleans’ Ground Zero, on the very spot where the levees breeched.

Congratulations Saints! New Orleans is back indeed.

And for those who come here solely for the dish on home shopping, here’s a tidbit for you: QVC is selling Saints’ Super Bowl merchandise like hats and HSN had items like a Saints fireplace screen for sale.

Over at ShopNBC, the official NFL Super Bowl gear includes a football signed by Drew Brees for $500.