- Posted January 28, 2013 by
New Orleans, Louisiana
- zdan, CNN iReport producer
On February 3, 2013, New Orleans will host Superbowl XLVII marking the tenth time New Orleans has hosted the National Football League’s championship game tying our city with Miami for playing host to the most Superbowls. It’s been ten years since New Orleans hosted a Superbowl, the last being Superbowl XXXVI after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
The slogan “We’ve come a long way baby” comes to mind as I think back to seven and a half years ago when the City of New Orleans was brought to its knees after Hurricane Katrina. I can’t help but feel a sense of pride at how far we have come in rebuilding our great city. Playing host to Superbowl XLVII will serve as a testament to America and the World that New Orleans has risen and is better than ever.
The city began preparing for this moment in May 2009, when New Orleans was named host of Super Bowl XLVII. As I drove around this past weekend I could see the finishing touches being applied to infrastructure projects in the French Quarter, Downtown, and the CBD. One of these improvements was the new Streetcar line on Loyola Avenue between Canal and Poydras Streets passing one block from the Mercedes Benz Superdome. Many of these projects were already scheduled but with a later completion date. As anyone living in the French Quarter and commuting to the CBD can tell you there has been construction everywhere for the past 6 months in order to complete the projects before the big game.
Another project recently completed was renovations to the Louis Armstrong International Airport. New Orleans has gone so far as to wash and paint the “concrete median” between the I-10 East and West bound lanes from the Louis Armstrong airport and the city. This was a difficult improvement for me to swallow as there is already construction on the I-10 between New Orleans and the Louis Armstrong International airport which causes delays. For the past six weeks every Saturday and Sunday morning there have been multiple water trucks parked against the median with workers pressure washing the concrete barriers. This past week the barriers were painted, using a paint roller, the same tan color of the concrete…Ugly. Sadly after all that work they are already getting scuffed up again, although I admit, they really weren’t that obvious to me to begin with. I mean when you are driving 70mph in traffic who has time to look at the concrete median? With time running out workers have been out during the day this past week when the traffic was heavier. I pray no one is hurt before it is complete.
Not only is New Orleans hosting the Superbowl but it is Mardi Gras in New Orleans!! Parades will not roll this week due to the NFL Experience which is taking place in the Convention Center but will resume after the game on Sunday.
While I am elated New Orleans is putting her best dress on to host Superbowl XLVII and Mardi Gras 2013, I try and keep things in perspective. Yes, we’ve come a long way since 2005 but we still have a long way to go. For many low income Americans in an area of New Orleans named “Desire”, life continues to be a daily struggle in their post apocalyptic neighborhood. For these residents the devastation and chaos from Katrina are still ever present as they strive to recapture a spirit that once was. Un-gutted public housing units still sit behind chain link fences. Where is HUD? Who is responsible for tearing these structures down? Why have they not been torn down already? A more pressing question for me is, “Where are the people that used to live here currently living? They’re still displaced… in Houston, San Antonio, and Your town, USA. You are not forgotten…
Peace.. Eileen Romero