New Orleans Saints Helped Revive City After Katrina

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From the NY Times:

NEW ORLEANS — One week after the Super Bowl, citizens of this enchanting and peculiar city will place a crown upon the head of Saints quarterback Drew Brees. They will dress him in a tunic, put him on a float and parade him through the streets before cheering throngs.

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This will happen even if the Saints do not qualify for the title game on Feb. 7 in Miami Gardens, Fla.


To get there, the Saints must beat the Minnesota Vikings in the Superdome on Sunday for the National Football Conference championship.

But come what may, Brees will be honored on Feb. 14 as Bacchus XLII by the Krewe of Bacchus, one of the local organizations in charge of the festivities of Carnival leading to Mardi Gras.

Brees has led the Saints to two N.F.C. championship games since he arrived as a free agent in 2006, a year after Hurricane Katrina damaged the Superdome and jeopardized the team’s future here. He is far more than a football hero for a Saints franchise enjoying the best season of its 43 years. He is also a focus of the physical, financial and psychological revival of the region that was devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

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“Drew has stepped up in a way that is very, very hard to explain,” said Owen Brennan III, the executive director of the Krewe of Bacchus. “There was so much need, so many projects. We needed someone who could rally the troops. Drew Brees has been able to move mountains. He is a pillar of the community.”

In the parade, Brennan said, Brees will toss miniature footballs and wine-colored coins bearing his likeness and his signature. His “throws” will symbolize his philanthropic efforts, which have helped bond this team with this community in ways beyond what is common in places where professional teams succeed.

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