From the Feb. 22, 2010 issue of TIME Magazine
It's not like new Orleans ever needs an excuse to party, but the city's first Super Bowl win provided the best reason to ratchet up Mardi Gras a week early. It was a long-overdue celebration not just for the Saints, after 43 years of bag-over-their-heads futility, but also for the Big Easy itself, after four-plus years of post-Katrina pity parties. It was a night to stop feeling sorry. New Orleans is still a high-poverty, high-anxiety mess. Some of its neighborhoods have barely begun to rebuild, and it's still outrageously vulnerable to coastal storms. Its levees are too weak, and the wetlands that once protected it from hurricanes continue to melt into the Gulf. But the Lombardi Gras felt like a new beginning for a who-dat city of underdogs especially coming just days after its black and white residents came together to install new adult leadership in the form of Mayor-elect Mitch Landrieu. Maybe he can combine the bold vision of Saints coach Sean Payton with the brilliant execution of quarterback Drew Brees. It won't mean much if the next storm wipes it all away. What New Orleans still needs most is what carried the Saints to victory: a strong defense.
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