What the 18 to 34 year-old has to say about New Orleans

Posted on: March 17 2010 | Posted in: Latest News
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees celebrates with the Vince Lombardi trophy as the New Orleans Saints beat the Indianapolis Colts 31-17, Sunday, February 7, 2010 in Super Bowl XLIV at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.

The Saints come marching back into New Orleans champions

3/8/2010 11:08:36 AM

By Claudia Morales/Staff Reporter

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees celebrates with the Vince Lombardi trophy as the New Orleans Saints beat the Indianapolis Colts 31-17, Sunday, February 7, 2010 in Super Bowl XLIV at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.

[New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees celebrates with the Vince Lombardi trophy as the New Orleans Saints beat the Indianapolis Colts 31-17, Sunday, February 7, 2010 in Super Bowl XLIV at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.]

Sometime around the final hours of February 7, 2010, an entire city set aside any negative disposition and went absolutely and irrevocably wild. The reason for this sudden celebration was, of course, the victory of the New Orleans Saints over the Indianapolis Colts at the 44th Annual Super Bowl. Hosted right in our own backyard, the Super Bowl attracted the attention of numerous fans from both sides of the spectrum. In the end, however, it proved to be the Saints who would emerge victorious, contrary to most predictions, with a 31-17 score. This victory means more than just a shiny trophy or a general sense of pride. The fact that the Saints won will spawn a lift of both spirits and economy in New Orleans, something that the city has needed for years.

Since Hurricane Katrina tore through the city in August 2005, New Orleans has been in a state of economic and social upheaval. The tourism that once thrived in the veins of the city became a weak, barely existent pulse. The economy shattered, with businesses destroyed and workers suffering from a lack of hope. What was once regarded as one of the friendliest cities on Earth became shrouded in the difficulty of their newfound obstacles. Even five years after the catastrophic event, New Orleans is still trying to recover.

What does this have to do with the Saints? Well, the very night of the team's victory, images of celebration in the heart of New Orleans plagued television screens everywhere, a testament to the immense rush of tourism the city has received. The local economy is already on the rise, with many small businesses receiving a tremendous flow of customers.

"I've seen more interest in New Orleans over the last two months than I'd seen in the previous two years," said Stephen Moret, head of Louisiana's Economic Development Agency (imdiversity.com).

A rising economy in New Orleans brought with it a lift of spirits. There is a new reason to be identified with New Orleans, and it has nothing to do with Katrina. Now, when New Orleans is mentioned, people will think "Saints." They'll think of the unexpected interception that turned the match around, and of the vital last minutes of the game that sealed the win. They'll think of the team's own “superstar,” Drew Brees, who has become perpetually associated with this newly thriving city, given nicknames like "Drew Orleans," and "La-Brees-iana." For the first time in years, New Orleans has had positive connotations associated with its name, and its citizens are once again filled with pride and a sense of unity.

Mere weeks ago, the city held its largest Mardi Gras parade in history as part of a Saints victory celebration. The streets were jam-packed, further proof of the attention the city is drawing. And the citizens? Just as happy as before Katrina, just as friendly, perhaps even more so. This place that was once known for its resonant party spirit is returning to that state of mind after a few years of sorrow and attempted repair. With this much needed boost, the city will soon be right back on track to being the place it once was, if not better. It's safe to say that, with the help of a few Saints, New Orleans is back on the map.