Monica Hernandez / Eyewitness News
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NEW ORLEANS - It was a night of fanfare on the red carpet as celebrities and NFL stars made their way into the NFL Honors at the Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arte. Host Alec Baldwin stopped to talk with Eyewitness News about his love for New Orleans.
'My fondest memory of New Orleans was the chocolate chip cookies at Martin's Wine Cellar,' said actor Alec Baldwin, who arrived in New Orleans Thursday, and reminisced about one of his last visits to the city while shooting a film in 1994.
'It was the end of 30 Rock on Thursday, it was our last show, so some of the writers in our show are on the NFL show, so we hung out and had dinner together.'
The second annual NFL Honors recognizes players like Drew Brees, who was nominated for 'Never Say Never Moment of the Year' for his record setting game in Week 5.
And it draws heavy hitters throughout the NFL.
'It is good to come back, get some good food, I'm excited to be back,' said Charles Tillman, corner back for Chicago Bears and University of Louisiana at Lafayette alum.
'This is quite an exciting evening, the hosting of it and all the celebrity players that are here, it's quite a who's who, it's a really special night,' said Rita Benson LeBlanc, owner and executive vice president for the New Orleans Saints.
New Orleans leaders say events like this showcase New Orleans as a world class city.
'We brought the whole world to us and they're having a great time,' said Mayor Mitch Landrieu.
'Just enthused at the light that's being shined on the city right now,' said Marshall Faulk, a New Orleans native and former running back for the St. Louis Rams and Indianapolis Colts.
The event drew a crowd of onlookers hoping to spot celebrities as they stepped out of their vehicles on N. Rampart Street.
Of course, the gala was peppered with New Orleans flavor. the city's own Soul Rebels played as the house band.
'It's exhilarating exciting feeling, the music inspires us all and we're here to show you what no can bring,' said Lumar LeBlanc, Soul Rebels snare drummer.
And one of the greatest wide receivers of all time, Hall of Famer Jerry Rice said the city inspired him to let someone else make a catch.
'I was a brave individual last night. I went down Bourbon Street,' said Rice. 'I was throwing out some beads so the police had to come upstairs and say Mr. Rice, please do not throw anymore beads out because there's a gathering of people down here and we need to keep everybody moving. But I love New Orleans, it's a beautiful city.'
And for many New Orleanians events like this ahead of the Super Bowl aren't just about pizazz and festivity. They help show the world how far the city has come.
CBS broadcast the event nationwide during a two hour show Saturday night.
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