For Post-Katrina New Orleans, Saints' Title Brings a Sense of Healing

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For Post-Katrina New Orleans, Saints' Title Brings a Sense of Healing
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

In spring 2006, months after Hurricane Katrina, I traveled with a group down to New Orleans to assist with the relief effort.  It is hard to forget the images of destruction we experienced as we helped a city get back on its feet.

Almost three and a half years after Katrina, the city is still healing.  The healing will continue for years to come.  

That's what made this Super Bowl so different.  

The New Orleans Saints, representing the spirit of a city that had seen massive devastation beyond what most could imagine, will bring the Lombardi Trophy to the Big Easy for the first time.

Although the prognosticators' picks had been made, although fans had made up in their minds who they though would win, you get the feeling that maybe, just maybe, something in them wanted the result to fall the Saints' way.  

They probably wouldn't be blamed for doing so. 

If there was a city that ever "needed it", some type of diversion to rally around, it was New Orleans.

Buffalo sports fans talk about the "pain" of Wide Right, while Cleveland fans describe the "heartbreak" of The Shot and the other close calls before and after it.  

That's not pain or heartbreak.  Compared to what New Orleans has been through, not even close.     

But on one night, something deep inside many of us Americans, no matter which team we like, may have been actually rooting for the Saints.  Who knows, maybe even some Colts fans had it in them as well.

For the Saints, this was the ultimate dream season, beyond any feel-good story that could have been scripted by even Hollywood's beat screenwriter.

And when Drew Brees and the rest of his teammates parade down the streets of New Orleans, trophy in hand, a city that has longed for something good to come out of the bad they have been through will join together as one to celebrate.

The rest of the country, although not as loudly as Saints fans, might be applauding the victory right behind them.

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