Dominic Massa / Eyewitness News
NEW ORLEANS - With just under two weeks until the eyes of the world focus on New Orleans for Super Bowl XLVII, Mayor Mitch Landrieu said Wednesday the city is ready and emphasized that years of planning will all come down to one week at the end of the month where he and members of the host committee hope the city will shine.
Landrieu joined host committee co-chairs Mary Matalin and James Carville, as well as representatives of the NFL and local media, at an event Wednesday at the House of Blues to unveil final plans for the week of events leading up to the game on Feb. 3.
“We are absolutely ‘Super Bowl-ready,’” Landrieu started the event by saying, referring mainly to the dozens of street repair projects, the Loyola Ave. streetcar construction, airport improvements and more public works projects that have consumed downtown New Orleans the past several weeks. The mayor said the work is 99 percent complete.
Landrieu and host committee members once again highlighted the importance of the event to the city, especially with thousands of national and international media representatives in town covering the game and the city’s recovery.
"It's our time to shine," Landrieu said.
The mayor said he is asking residents to follow the lead of the hospitality industry, which is renowned for welcoming thousands of visitors to the city.
“People need to remember to be nice, hospitable & show what we do so well," he said.
Landrieu said Saints fans should even extend that courtesy to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, still persona non grata in many local quarters because of his handling of the Saints bounty scandal.
“I want everybody to be on their best behavior,” the mayor said, adding that Goodell has been good to New Orleans in terms of keeping the Saints in the city, and will be important for the city’s chances of landing another Super Bowl.
Matalin said it is important for locals, including the media, to guide some of the 5,000 members of the media expected in town for the game, in their coverage of the city.
"A lot of (national) media still think we're underwater or under indictment," she joked, adding that she hopes coverage during this Super Bowl can change that perception.
Carville said the message he hopes will come across in the coverage is his one of great love for the city and its people during the past seven years since Hurricane Katrina, adding that "This city's been here for 294 years and we plan on being here another 294.”
"The star of this show is going to be our city. We just want to be sure we give her our best,” Carville said.
Also at the event Wednesday, Jazz Fest producer Quint Davis outlined more plans for the free outdoor music event along the New Orleans riverfront, called Verizon Super Bowl Boulevard. Davis’ Festival Productions is producing the event for the host committee.
The four-day free event, stretching from Jackson Square to the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas and Woldenberg Park, will feature 49 local bands, 12 second line parades, and 17 restaurants serving food, Davis said. Headliners include Trombone Shorty, Rebirth Brass Band, Amanda Shaw, Tab Benoit and Charmaine Neville.
"It’s a Super Bowl concept that will premiere here and is going to become annual Super Bowl tradition,” Davis said.
One of the early highlights will come on Jan. 31 when a barge carrying large Super Bowl Roman numerals will dock near Woldenberg Park, accompanied by music and fireworks.
Free to the public, the Verizon Super Bowl Boulevard opens Thursday, Jan. 31, at 5 p.m. and runs daily until 10 p.m. through Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 3, when it will close at 2 p.m.
The full line-up:
Thursday, Jan. 31
· Hot Club of New Orleans, High Ground Drifters Bluegrass, Cameron Dupuy & Cajun Troubadours, Smitty Dee’s Brass Band, Amanda Shaw & The Cute Guys, Lyle Henderson & Emanu-EL, Original Dixieland Jazz Band, Stooges Brass Band, Bonerama
Friday, Feb. 1
· Pine Leaf Boys, The Iguanas, Mem Shannon, Gal Holiday & Honky Tonk Revue, The Palmetto Bug Stompers, TBC Brass Band, Dwayne Dopsie & the Zydeco Hellraisers, Lagniappe Brass Band, Walter “Wolfman” Washington & The Roadmasters, James Andrews, Ingrid Lucia, Barbara Shorts, Leo Jackson & The Melody Clouds, Tuba Skinny, Kinfolk Brass Band , Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue
Saturday, Feb. 2
· Bruce Daigrepont Cajun Band, Sunpie & the LA Sunspots, Kristin Diable, Lars Edegran’s New Orleans Jazz Band, Young Pinstripe Brass Band, Tab Benoit, John Mooney, Roddie Romero & The Hub-City Allstars, Lost Bayou Ramblers, Creole String Beans, Meschiya Lake, Vivaz, Betty Winn & One A-Chord, Mahogany Brass Band, Rebirth Brass Band
Sunday, Feb. 3
· Washboard Chaz Blues Trio, David Doucet Cajun Trio, NewBirth Brass Band, Soul Rebels, Cynthia Girtley’s Gospel, Papa Grows Funk, Charmaine Neville, Treme Brass Band, Tim Laughlin