New Orleans puts on game face for NFL kickoff

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by Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News

wwltv.com

Posted on September 7, 2010 at 5:48 PM

NEW ORLEANS -- New Orleans is the Super Bowl champion city, and this week it's getting the Super Bowl treatment from the NFL.

"It was an incredibly big deal for the Saints to win the Super Bowl last year," said NFL spokesman Peter O'Reilly. "This is our tradition now, coming into the Super Bowl Champion market and really celebrating that city, celebrating that team, giving fans a way to experience that their team as we start off our year."

Jackson Square is already decked out for Thursday's kickoff concert featuring Dave Matthews and Taylor Swift.

The NFL Fan Zone, an interactive experience for young people, covers the Jax Brewery parking lot.

The "Play 60" youth festival on the river gives school kids a chance to get fit with NFL greats like former Saint Willie Roaf and New Orleanian Marshall Faulk.

"The initiative is to start with the kids while they're young, while they're in grade school and basically get them embedded into physical activity," said Faulk. "I know as a kid, running around, doing stuff like this is what kind of led to me playing football."

Tuesday, crews put the finishing touches on the floats that will roll in the Krewe of NFL kickoff parade.

It will feature two giant Lombardi Trophies figures, Reggie Bush and Drew Brees, and a lot of what makes New Orleans great.

"We got great chefs that are riding the floats, local New Orleans chefs," said parade organizer Barry Kern. "We've got local New Orleans bands on the floats. It's just a way to show what we do and frankly we throw a parade better than anybody else, so why not."

New Orleans police remind football fans there is no parking on Decatur Street from Toulouse to Dumaine through Friday. All of Decatur Street will be closed during the parade. And for the next few days, the French Market parking lot and Jackson Square will be closed.

The NFL warns as the kickoff event approaches the traffic nightmares and parking problems will increase. For that reason, the league recommends if you want to participate in some of the fan activities, park on the outside of the French Quarter and walk in.

The Krewe of NFL kicks off at Elysian Fields and the river, proceeds through the Quarter up North Peters and Decatur into the Warehouse District on Tchoupitoulas and ends at Tchoupitoulas and Julia.

The parade starts at 5 p.m.

2010 NFL KICKOFF EVENTS

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 8

10:00 AM – 2:45 PM – NFL PLAY 60 YOUTH FOOTBALL FESTIVAL – WOLDENBERG PARK
10:00 AM – 7:00 PM – NFL KICKOFF FAN ZONE – JACKSON BREWERY LOT
11:15 AM – PHOTO OP/B-ROLL OP with TAYLOR SWIFT – WOLDENBERG PARK
1:00 PM – PRESS CONFERENCE FEATURING MICHELLE OBAMA, ROGER GOODELL, TONY DUNGY – WOLDENBERG PARK
5:00 PM – FAN FORUM WITH ROGER GOODELL – SUPERDOME
7:00 PM – KICKOFF EVE (Former Players, Robert Randolph, Trombone Shorty) – HOUSE OF BLUES

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 9
9:00 AM – 12:30 PM - NFL KICKOFF COMMUNITY REBUILD - NFL HOUSE: 1506 Schnell Drive, Arabi, LA 70032
10:00 – 11:50 AM – NFL PLAY 60 YOUTH FOOTBALL FESTIVAL – WOLDENBERG PARK
10:00 AM – 7:00 PM – NFL KICKOFF FAN ZONE – JACKSON BREWERY LOT
3:00 PM – DOORS OPEN FOR NFL KICKOFF 2010 – JACKSON SQUARE
5:00 PM – KREWE OF NFL KICKOFF PARADE STEPS OFF – ESPLANADE AVE & NORTH PETERS
6:30 PM – NFL KICKOFF 2010 FEATURING DAVE MATTHEWS BAND & TAYLOR SWIFT – JACKSON SQUARE (Live on NBC/NFL Network)

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