NEW ORLEANS -- This is it. After years of preparation, New Orleans is playing host to the world's biggest football game, and it's no longer just a one-night event.
This week, trumpet player Buddy Ruff and all the other street performers in New Orleans seem a little more polished.
Just ask the self-described wild man, a Mardi Gras Indian covered in shards of mirror and feathers, providing a ready-made photo op in the French Quarter.
“I try to impress the tourists that are here today,” said George Quinn, the “Wild Man’s” real name.
Tourists are already in the city either working on the numerous event centers being constructed or just playing, some hoping to get in on the Super Bowl action, others by accident.
“It was very random. But it worked out well,” said Michelle Cooney.
She and two of her friends traveled to New Orleans for a girl’s weekend, but ended up staying an extra day into Super Bowl week because an ice storm in New York cancelled their flight.
They spent Monday celebrity spotting on Decatur Street. So, who had they seen?
“ESPN guys so far. And a guy that said he did porn and rode a bull. He said he was famous,” Cooney said laughing.
Those ESPN guys and gals were just some of the hundreds of broadcasters converging on the Crescent City.
“We can't wait to see the show. We got sisters and brothers. Well, no brothers but all sisters,” said Jackie Bayham, a Waggaman resident who lined up early in Jackson Square to catch a live taping of the daytime talk show “The Talk.”
“We feel like rock stars. Like Sally Field said, ‘You really like me.’ They really like us. They're magic here. This crowd was electrifying,” said host of “The Talk” Julie Chen.
In the final days leading up to the Super Bowl, it was all about the buzz.
“The story is much, much bigger than the Super Bowl. This is a story about the resurrection and redemption of a great American city,” said New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu at a press conference for out-of-town media at the Morial Convention Center Monday.
And that will be organizers’ big push as the city itself becomes a player in the game, even six days out.