Bernard Saverio Diliberto
They say every era has a man. Also every man has a place. And every dog has it’s day. If the Saints day is 2010, the days that weren’t theirs would be the 60’s, 70’s, and most of the 80’s and 90’s. And parts of the 00’s. And for that long, torturous, unforgiving era of the Saints history, the man was Buddy D.
When I first started to take to the Saints during the horror of the Ditka era (and as a non-football fan at that time, it was only their god-awfullness that made them so endearing) it was exciting as the final seconds bumbled down and everyone who had “turned on the TV and turned down the sound” would go from the patient exasperation of the even keeled Jim Henderson to the Point After with Buddy D.
The man had passion, the man oozed both New Orleans and the Saints, and just as the Saints symbolically tortured the fans every year, Buddy D would torture the english language as he alternately begged, pleaded and eventually angrily degrded the team that wouldn’t lead him to the promised land. His mispronunciations were legendeary, my favorite always being Dante Stallworth morphing into Dunte Stallpepper spoken like through a mothfull of unchewed saltines. You couldn’t help but wonder how this man ended up on the radio…but as a newcomer to this city it crept up to me over the course of a few years…the truth of this cities nature, sports and otherwise, could only be represented by a man that was all heart and lumps.
The man invented the Baghead, the ‘Aints, and like a man looking for a cure that is worse than the disease, he was responsible for the Ditka era. He would jokingly swear that he would wear a dress on Bourbon Street when the Saints won the Superbowl, sure he would never have to don it. When he died in 2005 I was really sad. The deaths of famous people who I never met don’t move me, but Buddy D I listened to 3 hours a day. He taught me more about New Orleans than anyone else including a gaggle of my history teachers, and he wasn’t even trying.
I will be wearing my Buddy D shirt to the Dome Sunday, and waiting to see the thousands of folks marching down Bourbon Street in dresses the day after the Saints win the Superbowl. I’ve never organized anything, it’s not in my nature, but if that doesn’t happen spontaneously, that I will do.
As a bonus here is an awesome 3-some. Buddy D, NOLA native and 1980’s USA network late night hottie Rhonda Shear and Vince Marinello in the years before he donned a fake mustache and biked through the shopping centers of Metairie to shoot his cheating (and much younger wife). Notice him ogling Rhonda’s butt.All star line up.