City shuts down early for Patriots-Saints

NEW ORLEANS -- How big is Monday night's game?

The city is closing early to clear a path.

New Orleans has decided to shutter itself at 3 p.m. to handle the crush of jacked-up folks headed downtown for the New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints in the Superdome.

Whether they're holding ticket or not, downtown will be the hot spot.

On Saturday afternoon, I sat behind the steering wheel for at least 12 light changes (I started counting after I'd put the car in park) at the intersection of Loyola Avenue and Poydras Street and didn't move a millimeter.

That was shortly after the Bayou Classic between Grambling and Southern ended. The crowd spilled out of the Superdome and into the streets, creating nasty gridlock.

Estimated attendance for that game was about 50,000. The Superdome will be jammed with about 72,000 fans Monday night. French Quarter establishments will be overflowing, too.