NEW ORLEANS -- Super Bowl week is upon us and that’s going to put New Orleans in the world’s spotlight.
I have absolutely no doubt New Orleans will pull it off in spectacular fashion. I’ve been to Super Bowls in a bunch of different cities and I’ve always said New Orleans is the perfect venue. Hotels, the French Quarter and the Mercedes-Benz Superdome all are located in close proximity.
But it has been a while since New Orleans hosted a Super Bowl. The last was in 2002. As we all know, Hurricane Katrina came in 2005 and changed the city forever. I’ve been a frequent visitor to New Orleans since I started with ESPN in 2008 and my sense is the city has recovered extremely well, with the Saints playing a huge role in that process.
Some civic leaders say this Super Bowl might be the final step in New Orleans’ recovery.
“My hope is it can help bring some real closure here, and that the city can show what it can do,’’ Super Bowl host committee co-chairperson, and political analyst, James Carville said in a conference call with the national media. “But you just don’t know that feeling until you’re through with it. All of us on the committee are trying not to focus on that. We’re trying to focus on the mission at hand.
“Sometimes I wake up at night and say. “If this thing goes well this can really help people put a lot of things behind ‘em’’. Yes, that thought has crossed my mind. But I can’t allow myself to think like that. We’re a little bit like these teams. You can’t think what it’s like to win, you just have to prepare. That’s been the attitude here.’’
I’m sure New Orleans is as prepared as possible and this is a city that has shown it can adjust to whatever comes its way. The Super Bowl should be a snap for New Orleans.
I’ll be here all week, helping out with our coverage of the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens as well as keeping tabs on whatever’s going on in the NFC South. I’ve got a meeting planned with one of the division’s starting quarterbacks later in the week.
And I’ll be watching as New Orleans puts on a show.