By Janet Shamlian, NBC News Correspondent
NEW ORLEANS -- I was in the middle of Bourbon street in the French quarter when the Saints won the Super Bowl.
Fans draped in black and gold suddenly poured out of hotels and restaurants and bars and into the streets for a party that -- even in city that prides itself on good times -- has no comparison. It's a celebration that that will certainly last for days.
Was Drew Brees amazing? Of course. Did the team shut down the Colts in the second half? Certainly. For the people of New Orleans, was this game only about football? Absolutely not.
Yes, the whole "New Orleans needs this" story line has been played out, but that doesn't make it any less true. I saw that firsthand. This is a city celebration. There are plenty of out of town visitors. But for the most part, the people on my floor in my hotel live only a few miles away. But they wouldn't, they couldn't be anywhere else for the game. They booked rooms in the French Quarter to participate and celebrate alongside their friends and neighbors. Together. In public. Just as they have faced the last four-plus years in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
The Lombardi trophy and the Saints are headed home to the Big Easy, in a day that has become a moment in time for everyone who loves New Orleans.