French Quarter crowds, beefed up by tourists in town for Carnival season and by those wanting to experience the euphoria of a Saints victory, poured onto Bourbon Street to celebrate in a scene that looked more like Fat Tuesday than a Sunday night. The Saints won 31-17 in the franchise's first appearance in the big game.
"This is so awesome," said Darlene Milliet, as she hugged her sister, Cindy Lasiter, both of them crying in the French Quarter. "I can't believe it!"
"It's like a dream come true," Lasiter said. "It's just a dream come true."
"Our hearts pour out for them. What a great city to win it," Scanil said as plastic beads swung from his neck and he watched revelers. "It's a heartwarming thing, the Saints."
Trina Pearley-Brown was raised by her mother to be a Saints fan, and she was carrying on the legacy even though her mother died before Katrina.
"You can't describe it. It's so awesome. We've been waiting for this for years," said the 47-year-old from Gramercy, La. "It's means so much to the city. They're back. They're alive."
It was a similar scene along a row of neighborhood bars and restaurants on Maple Street, not far from Tulane and Loyola universities, where college students and area residents, most clad in black and gold, hit the street screaming and cheering. Fireworks resounded and flares lit up the sky.
"House of the Rising Sun" blared from speakers at Bruno's Tavern, where patrons sprayed each other with champagne and beer.
David Frazier and Daphne Naro, of the San Francisco area, were among the parade goers along Canal Street at the edge of the French Quarter. The game brought them back to New Orleans, Frazier's home town.
In the French Quarter, the afternoon celebrations began with the procession of the "Krewe of Barkus," a mini-parade for dogs. Dogs sporting black and gold feathers, beads, sequins and Saints jerseys marched with their owners through the Quarter.
One yellow labrador retriever walked the parade route past St. Louis Cathedral dressed like Saints tight end Jeremy Shockey, complete with stringy blond wig and fake tattoos running down his legs below the No. 88 jersey.
"He has a laid-back surfer personality, like Shockey," said Stas Zhuk, gesturing to 2-year-old Diego being walked by his wife. "He's friendly to everyone."
They moved to New Orleans six months ago, "so we became intense rabid fans in a short amount of time," Zhuk said.
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press