I don’t think there has ever been an American city that could have as much going on as once as New Orleans. And this is a city that thrives on special occasions.

OK, first of all, this is the first big weekend of Mardi Gras parades and celebrations. Then there is this election to choose a successor to Ray Nagin. So, let’s throw in a little thing called the Super Bowl  for the neer-do-well local team — just to make it interesting.

So, Monday has dawned. New Orleans has a new mayor. Multiple opponents. No run-off, First white mayor in 32 years, but one who received a majority of the African-American votes against a black opponent. It helps that the new mayor, Mitch Landrieu, is the well-connected son of the last white New Orleans Mayor, “Moon” Landrieu.

Then there’s this little thing called Mardi Gras. Parade times, along with mass schedules had to be rearranged to accommodate the Super Bowl. What a pain. The normal parades took place, although crowds were a little thinner than usual. Sunday parades included one of my favorite, the Krewe of Barkus parade, themed: “The Dogs Go Barking In.”

BUT, and I must repeat, BUT, the Super Bowl and the Saint’s definitive victory is the exclamation point on the weekend, if not, in fact, that of an entire decade. It’s as if the remaining water left from Katrina has been drained from the streets of New Orleans. The city is back. The people are looking forward. The sadness is over. If the Saints can overcome four decades of football futility, the city can overcome four decades of decline.

This is a time for the city to celebrate. But what this may represent, is a far more significant reason for New Orleans to celebrate. It is back! Big time.

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