"We're in an economic resurrection of the city," actor and businessman Wendell Pierce said. "This is a point in time that people will remember that New Orleans was on its way back. We came from total destruction and now we're hosting one of the great events known to the world."
The New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corp. says the big game served as a goal line to cross for more than $1 billion in improvements to the city. Much of that was spent fixing up the airport, where most fans will get a first impression of the city that depends heavily on tourism.
New Orleans officials hope that some of the fans don't pack up and leave on Monday. After all, there's another big event going on. Mardi Gras!
it's the best time ever, Pierce said.
"You're right in the middle of the greatest street party in the history of the world, Mardi Gras," he said. "To have the Super Bowl join that, it's one of the most festive times to be here in New Orleans. We're going to have great food, great time and one of the greatest games in ... world sports."