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Saints the soul of America's city

Updated: December 19, 2009, 2:21 AM ET
By Wright Thompson | ESPN.com

NEW ORLEANS -- The soul of New Orleans is in a trumpet and a low-ceilinged bar. It's in the free red beans in the back. It's in the art hanging near the food that has two dogs howling at a New Orleans Saints moon. It's in the voice of Kermit Ruffins, two hours into his standing Thursday night gig at a packed club hidden in the neighborhood behind the French Quarter, the place weathered and peeling like the side of a workingman's boat.

He plays a song he wrote, "All I Want for Christmas ...

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