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The New Orleans Saints are about $850,000 under the salary cap after their flurry of trades and free-agent moves. They’ll likely need about $2 million more to sign their draft picks, plus additional space if they plan to add any more free agents above the minimum salary.

Remember, only the top 51 salary-cap figures count against a team during the offseason (plus dead money).

Here is how the Saints are allocating their resources this year on offense, according to ESPN Stats & Information:

Quarterback

Number of players on roster: 3

Percentage of team’s salary-cap space: 21.2 percent

Total cap charge: $27.6 million

NFL average: $13.3 million

Biggest cap hit: Drew Brees $26.4 million

Biggest bargains: Luke McCown $665,000, Ryan Griffin $520,000

Thoughts: Brees’ number is gigantic (the second biggest in the NFL behind Tony Romo). But remember that the Saints structured it this way on purpose when they signed him to a five-year, $100 million deal in 2012. They needed cap space in the early years of Brees' deal, and they had time to prepare for when the cap charges would balloon in 2015 and 2016.

I have no problem with that, especially since the NFL’s cap has been increasing rapidly over the past two years. Brees was well worth the total value of his deal -- which actually ranks fifth now in the NFL in average-per-year (behind Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco).

Running back/fullback

Number of players on roster: 8

Percentage of team’s salary-cap space: 6.0 percent

Total cap charge: $7.8 million

NFL average: $7.2 million

Biggest cap hit: (tie) Mark Ingram and C.J. Spiller $2 million

Biggest bargain: Khiry Robinson $585,334

Thoughts: The running back position has been de-valued throughout the NFL -- and many teams take an even cheaper route than New Orleans. But the Saints apparently felt like that meant there were bargains to be had in free agency. They re-signed Ingram, then they also pounced on Spiller when they saw him lingering in free agency for a few days.

These two will become a big part of New Orleans’ offense now at a combined total of less than tight end Jimmy Graham was making per year. Whether the trade-off is worth it remains to be seen.

Wide receiver

Number of players on roster: 8

Percentage of team’s salary-cap space: 8.9 percent

Total cap charge: $11.6 million

NFL average: $13.9 million

Biggest cap hit: Marques Colston, $6.5 million

Biggest bargains: Brandin Cooks $1.9 million, Nick Toon $761,903

Thoughts: The Saints are spending below league average here, with only one veteran receiver in Colston, who agreed to cut his salary virtually in half this offseason. They have more question marks than usual with so much youth -- but a lot of intriguing potential. Cooks, especially, could evolve into a dynamic talent.

Tight end

Number of players on roster: 3

Percentage of team’s salary-cap space: 2.4 percent

Total cap charge: $3.1 million

NFL average: $7.3 million

Biggest cap hit: Benjamin Watson $1.9 millions

Biggest bargain: Josh Hill $586,668

Thoughts: The Saints went from way above league average to way below by trading Graham. But they’re expecting to get great bang for their buck with a solid veteran in Watson and an intriguing youngster in Hill. Coach Sean Payton acknowledged they still need to add at least one tight end in free agency or the draft.

Offensive line

Number of players on roster: 10

Percentage of team’s salary-cap space: 17.7 percent

Total cap charge: $23 million

NFL average: $22.3 million

Biggest cap hit: Jahri Evans $11 million

Biggest bargains: Terron Armstead $769,359, Tim Lelito $586,668

Thoughts: This is the second-most expensive position for the Saints by a wide margin, and they’re still paying below league average after trading away guard Ben Grubbs. Payton said the Saints will also figure out a way to reduce Evans’ price tag with some sort of restructured deal, though none has been finalized yet.

If Armstead and Lelito continue to develop in their third NFL seasons, the Saints’ overall talent on the offensive line should be better than league average. But they’ll also need to draft and develop youngsters to eventually replace Evans and right tackle Zach Strief to keep that going in future years.

-- via credit: Mike Triplett @ ESPN
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New Saints players DB Delvin Breaux, DB Brandon Browner, RB C.J. Spiller and C Max Ungerhave been assigned jersey numbers:

Breaux: #40

Browner: #39

Spiller: #21

Max Unger: #60
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New Orleans Pelicans vs. Memphis GrizzliesSmoothie King Center (Formerly New Orleans Arena)
New Orleans, LA
Saturday
3/7/2015
6:00 PM
Katt WilliamsUNO Lakefront Arena
New Orleans, LA
Saturday
3/7/2015
8:00 PM
Tulane Green Wave vs. Gonzaga BulldogsGreer Field at Turchin Stadium
New Orleans, LA
Sunday
3/8/2015
1:00 PM
Journey & Steve Miller BandSmoothie King Center (Formerly New Orleans Arena)
New Orleans, LA
Sunday
3/8/2015
6:45 PM
TobyMac, Mandisa & Capital KingsSaenger Theatre - New Orleans
New Orleans, LA
Sunday
3/8/2015
7:00 PM


Louisiana Lafayette Ragin Cajuns vs. New Orleans PrivateersML Tigue Moore Field
Lafayette, LA
Tuesday
3/10/2015
6:00 PM
John MellencampSaenger Theatre - New Orleans
New Orleans, LA
Tuesday
3/10/2015
7:30 PM



Chris Brown, Trey Songz & TygaSmoothie King Center (Formerly New Orleans Arena)
New Orleans, LA
Thursday
3/12/2015
7:30 PM
Wait Wait...Don't Tell MeSaenger Theatre - New Orleans
New Orleans, LA
Thursday
3/12/2015
7:30 PM
Buku Music and Art Project - 2 Day PassMardi Gras World
New Orleans, LA
Friday
3/13/2015
2:00 PM
Tulane Green Wave vs. Xavier MusketeersGreer Field at Turchin Stadium
New Orleans, LA
Friday
3/13/2015
6:30 PM
Penn & TellerSaenger Theatre - New Orleans
New Orleans, LA
Friday
3/13/2015
8:00 PM
Tulane Green Wave vs. Xavier MusketeersGreer Field at Turchin Stadium
New Orleans, LA
Saturday
3/14/2015
2:00 PM
Charlie Wilson, Kem & JoeSmoothie King Center (Formerly New Orleans Arena)
New Orleans, LA
Saturday
3/14/2015
8:00 PM
Tulane Green Wave vs. Xavier MusketeersGreer Field at Turchin Stadium
New Orleans, LA
Sunday
3/15/2015
12:00 PM
New Orleans Pelicans vs. Denver NuggetsSmoothie King Center (Formerly New Orleans Arena)
New Orleans, LA
Sunday
3/15/2015
5:00 PM
KittenHouse Of Blues - New Orleans
New Orleans, LA
Sunday
3/15/2015
7:00 PM
New Orleans Pelicans vs. Milwaukee BucksSmoothie King Center (Formerly New Orleans Arena)
New Orleans, LA
Tuesday
3/17/2015
7:00 PM
OnceSaenger Theatre - New Orleans
New Orleans, LA
Tuesday
3/17/2015
7:30 PM
OnceSaenger Theatre - New Orleans
New Orleans, LA
Wednesday
3/18/2015
7:30 PM

OnceSaenger Theatre - New Orleans
New Orleans, LA
Thursday
3/19/2015
7:30 PM
Young ThugHouse Of Blues - New Orleans
New Orleans, LA
Thursday
3/19/2015
8:00 PM
Shrine CircusUNO Lakefront Arena
New Orleans, LA
Friday
3/20/2015
7:30 PM



OnceSaenger Theatre - New Orleans
New Orleans, LA
Friday
3/20/2015
8:00 PM
Shrine CircusUNO Lakefront Arena
New Orleans, LA
Saturday
3/21/2015
11:00 AM
OnceSaenger Theatre - New Orleans
New Orleans, LA
Saturday
3/21/2015
2:00 PM
Shrine CircusUNO Lakefront Arena
New Orleans, LA
Saturday
3/21/2015
3:00 PM
AMSOIL ArenacrossSmoothie King Center (Formerly New Orleans Arena)
New Orleans, LA
Saturday
3/21/2015
7:00 PM
Shrine CircusUNO Lakefront Arena
New Orleans, LA
Saturday
3/21/2015
7:30 PM
SinbadHarrah's New Orleans Casino
New Orleans, LA
Saturday
3/21/2015
7:30 PM
OnceSaenger Theatre - New Orleans
New Orleans, LA
Saturday
3/21/2015
8:00 PM
Paula PoundstoneThe Civic Theatre
New Orleans, LA
Saturday
3/21/2015
9:00 PM
SinbadHarrah's New Orleans Casino
New Orleans, LA
Saturday
3/21/2015
9:30 PM
Lieutenant & Yukon BlondeThe Parish At House Of Blues - New Orleans
New Orleans, LA
Saturday
3/21/2015
10:00 PM
AMSOIL ArenacrossSmoothie King Center (Formerly New Orleans Arena)
New Orleans, LA
Sunday
3/22/2015
12:00 PM



Shrine CircusUNO Lakefront Arena
New Orleans, LA
Sunday
3/22/2015
2:00 PM
OnceSaenger Theatre - New Orleans
New Orleans, LA
Sunday
3/22/2015
2:00 PM
Shrine CircusUNO Lakefront Arena
New Orleans, LA
Sunday
3/22/2015
6:30 PM
OnceSaenger Theatre - New Orleans
New Orleans, LA
Sunday
3/22/2015
7:30 PM
J. ColeHouse Of Blues - New Orleans
New Orleans, LA
Monday
3/23/2015
8:00 PM
Enter Shikari, Stray From The Path, A Lot Like Birds & MarmozetsHouse Of Blues - New Orleans
New Orleans, LA
Tuesday
3/24/2015
5:30 PM
Tulane Green Wave vs. LSU TigersGreer Field at Turchin Stadium
New Orleans, LA
Tuesday
3/24/2015
6:30 PM
Stevie WonderSmoothie King Center (Formerly New Orleans Arena)
New Orleans, LA
Tuesday
3/24/2015
7:30 PM
New Orleans Pelicans vs. Houston RocketsSmoothie King Center (Formerly New Orleans Arena)
New Orleans, LA
Wednesday
3/25/2015
7:00 PM
Railroad EarthHouse Of Blues - New Orleans
New Orleans, LA
Wednesday
3/25/2015
7:00 PM
Mary Chapin CarpenterThe Civic Theatre
New Orleans, LA
Thursday
3/26/2015
7:00 PM
Sylvan EssoTipitinas
New Orleans, LA
Thursday
3/26/2015
9:00 PM
Tulane Green Wave vs. Uconn HuskiesGreer Field at Turchin Stadium
New Orleans, LA
Friday
3/27/2015
6:30 PM
New Orleans Pelicans vs. Sacramento KingsSmoothie King Center (Formerly New Orleans Arena)
New Orleans, LA
Friday
3/27/2015
7:00 PM
Railroad EarthHouse Of Blues - New Orleans
New Orleans, LA
Friday
3/27/2015
7:00 PM
The Midtown MenMahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts
New Orleans, LA
Friday
3/27/2015
7:00 PM



Tulane Green Wave vs. Uconn HuskiesGreer Field at Turchin Stadium
New Orleans, LA
Saturday
3/28/2015
2:00 PM
New Orleans Voodoo vs. Jacksonville SharksSmoothie King Center (Formerly New Orleans Arena)
New Orleans, LA
Saturday
3/28/2015
7:00 PM



Tulane Green Wave vs. Uconn HuskiesGreer Field at Turchin Stadium
New Orleans, LA
Sunday
3/29/2015
12:00 PM
New Orleans Pelicans vs. Minnesota TimberwolvesSmoothie King Center (Formerly New Orleans Arena)
New Orleans, LA
Sunday
3/29/2015
3:00 PM
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12th Night marks the end of Christmas and the beginning of Mardi Gras season in New Orleans, as well as King Cake season.

There's actually a bit of confusion about the actual date. It's the 12th Night of Christmas, which appears to originally have been counted from Christmas Eve. So actually the evening of January 5th, the eve of Epiphany (January 6th), is apparently the true 12th night. And it was the final burst of Christmas revelry. Unlike modern times which seem to start Christmas activity around Halloween, Christmas used to be celebrated for 12 days and didn't start until Christmas Day.

However, 12th Night has come to be most celebrated, at least in New Orleans, on January 6th, the 12th day and night after Christmas Day. January 6th is also known as the 12th Day of Christmas, Epiphany or Kings Day. It's the traditional day celebrating the arrival of the Magi or three kings at the manger with their gifts for Jesus.

January 6th by whatever name is marked traditionally with the first King Cake parties, Carnival balls, and other celebrations that starts the Carnival season which is nowadays also called Mardi Gras season.





New Orleans now celebrates the birthday of Joan of Arc with a kind of historically correct medieval parade with in the French Quarter.

The Joan of Arc parade is held every year on her birthday, January 6th, which happens to be 12th Night, the start of Mardi Gras. .

The family-friendly walking parade route starts at the Bienville Statue on Decatur Street at 6 p.m., goes up Conti to Chartres, across Jackson Square by the St. Louis Cathedral, then up Chartres to St. Phillip, where it turns towards the Mississippi River. The parade ends at the Joan of Arc statue, which was a gift from Franch to New Orleans, at the corner of Decatur and St. Phillip Streets in the French Market District. .



It's a most unique parade with historical characters, horses, medieval costumes, banners, and carts, as well as live music. The parade "throws" are unique and in accord with the time period and theme. They include wooden swords, king cake, hand-painted medallions, crafted butterflies,saints magnets, processional candles, prayer cards, Fleur de Lis items, and more.


The Phunny Phorty Phellows kicks off the Mardi Gras season in New Orleans each year with the first Mardi Gras event with a wild and wacky streetcar party. 

The costumed and masked krewe members gather at the Willow Street Car Barn in the Carrollton neighborhood of New Orleans to board their decorated streetcar for the traditional ride. 

Everyone is invited to see the costumed Phunny Phorty Phellows off on their annual festive streetcar ride to "Herald the Arrival of Mardi Gras". The Carrollton - St. Charles streetcar party leaves at 7 pm sharp, so don't miss the send off celebration. The streetcar runs the entire route and returns back to the Car Barn. 

The historic Phunny Phorty Phellows were originally a satirical parade on the streets of New Orleans from 1878 through 1898. In 1981, the krewe was revived and has become the first celebratory public act for Mardi Gras season



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