Nightly News | September 09, 2010
BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor (New Orleans): And now to what brings us back here tonight to this city that has come to mean so much to us. It is hard to find anyone here in New Orleans tonight who isn't wearing some form of the Saints ' logo. Even a few local news anchors had game jerseys on this morning under their usual on-air blazers. The Saints are just one NFL team, it's true, but they mean the world to this town. Playing tonight in the Superdome , their first game as defending Super Bowl champions , when they meet the Vikings tonight here on NBC . Our report on what the Saints have done to and for this city from Janet Shamlian , who's down near the Superdome . Janet , good evening.
JANET SHAMLIAN reporting: Brian , good evening. If it is possible to close up shop in an American city, that is the feel here in New Orleans tonight. Just about everything has come to a standstill in anticipation of this game and this team that has really come to represent the city's own hard-fought recovery. Even in a city known for great parties, the frenzy of this day in New Orleans was unprecedented.
Unidentified Man: That's the breakfast of champions right there.
SHAMLIAN: That time-honored football tradition, tailgating started at sunrise.
Mr. POEL BOECKL (Saints Fan): There are some people right here with the grill going at 5:30 this morning when I got here. This is what New Orleans does.
Offscreen Voice: How you all doing today?
SHAMLIAN: City hall shut its doors and schools closed early, all blamed on a fast-spreading football fever.
Group of Cheerleaders: Who that saying they going to beat them Saints ?
SHAMLIAN: Tonight's game, the NFL season opener, puts New Orleans back on a national stage, and not for a storm or an oil spill or any other tragedy.
Unidentified Woman: Everybody's excited. It's Saints mania.
SHAMLIAN: After a Super Bowl win that gave this city an emotional boost, now comes another fresh start, in the Superdome , representing so much of what New Orleans has been through.
Mr. SAL SINCERI: This is fantastic. This is incredible.
SHAMLIAN: A lifelong Saints fan, Sal Sinceri lost his home to Katrina and watched his oyster business crumble after the oil spill, but never once considered parting with his season tickets.
Mr. SINCERI: It's about the happiness. It's about where we've come, you know, from that point to now. I think we're over the hump with the Katrina story.
SHAMLIAN: For the love of black and gold, bragging rights belong to the Saints as they begin a new march toward Super Bowl dreams, another step in the city's recovery. And talk about an economic shot in the arm. The hotels here are booked solid, and Saints merchandise, stores that have them, if they have any left, have
lines out the door. Brian: Janet Shamlian in the thick of it tonight in New Orleans . Might just run into you in the crowd down there at the Superdome tonight.