NEW ORLEANS | Residents of the Big Easy seemed to be celebrating their team’s Super Bowl win even before the game. With Mardi Gras just over a week away, Carnival parades ran all morning and afternoon, and just about everyone sported a “Who Dat” T-shirt in honor of the Saints.
During the game, fans at Harrah’s casino on Canal Street consoled or congratulated each other on every play. As it became apparent that the Saints would clinch their first Super Bowl victory, the crowd’s energy became palpable.
People waved black and gold pom-poms, Saints flags and banners that read “BELIEVE.” Queen’s “We are the Champions” belted out over the loudspeaker as people hugged, high-fived and took out their cell phones to celebrate with friends celebrating elsewhere.
But the real party started in the streets of New Orleans — a city known for its celebrations. As the crowd made its made down Canal Street to Bourbon Street in the heart of the French Quarter, the dancing stopped simply because there was hardly room to walk, let alone dance.
The crush of people on Bourbon Street made it was clear that the victory was about more than football — it was about the hurricane-ravaged city’s long road to recovery.
“Four years ago, who thought this would be happening? Eighty-five percent of the city was under water,” said Saints quarterback and Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees.
A parade will be held on Tuesday in honor of the Saints’ win, and a week later the city will celebrate Mardi Gras. It’s hard to tell when the party will stop, but if any city deserves a good time, it’s the Big Easy.
View images from this weekend’s Super Bowl festivities in New Orleans on our Flickr page.
On Monday’s NewsHour, Jeffrey Brown will talk to reporters and columnists about what the Super Bowl win means for New Orleans.