When I made arrangements to fly into New Orleans for Super Bowl XLVII coverage between San Francisco and Baltimore, I must’ve been asleep. For whatever reason, maybe a brief flirtation with stupidity, I booked the flight that took off at 6am from SFO this morning (Wednesday). After a stop in Denver where the wind chill was -7, it was a quick two-hour flight to New Orleans.
Signs of Super Bowl fever are everywhere here in the Big Easy, from programs , pennants, beads, hats, shirts, footballs, shot glasses at shops in the airport concourse to huge murals on just about every concrete parking garage in and around the airport. Even the woman at the kiosk in a rental car kiosk told me to have a good Super Bowl. By four in the afternoon (CST time), I was in the media center looking for anyone famous and ran in to 49er great Jerry Rice making the rounds at every ESPN radio outlet in the country (trust me, just about every ESPN affiliate is here) The Media Center, located in a mile long building in the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, is tucked between the French Quarter and the Mississippi River. A word of note, it was colder here today than it was in Sonoma County.
So here I sit in my handy dandy official Super Bowl XLVII hotel room with a view of a white rock roof and a freeway overpass. I have a refrigerator and a microwave and a dead cockroach in the bathroom-which is now taking a free four-star tour of the New Orleans sewage system. The last time I covered the big game down here, my motel room was under a freeway, several dozen cockroaches scurried about when you opened the room door, the bed was more like a canoe and the pool was filled in with dirt, not to mention the room cost a hefty $191 a night.
I was impressionable 23 years ago.
There is something about New Orleans though that is steeped in tradition and mystery. It’s an old city and lord knows, there has been plenty of heartache and disaster over the decades. But walking the back roads of the old brick buildings downtown and in the warehouse district, signs of a New Orleans of old can be found, with it’s very deep southern roots. Stay tuned for more.