Saints' Benson: 'New Orleans is back'

May, 19, 2009
5/19/09
6:06
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

The Saints just sent out a press release to go with the news that New Orleans will host Super Bowl XLVII in 2013 and I think the quote from team owner Tom Benson deserves special notice.

"This is a great accomplishment for New Orleans, and the significance of bringing the Super Bowl to our city and region can't be overstated," Benson said. "From every perspective, this shows that our city is on the rise, viable and thriving, and I have great faith in what we can accomplish and the impact it will have, starting today. This is my hometown, and maybe we don't need to talk about New Orleans being on the way back anymore. New Orleans is back, and today is proof."

Benson is right. New Orleans went through a huge tragedy when Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005. Yeah, there still is some work to do. But the city and the entire Gulf Coast region has made tremendous strides since then. The Saints have been a rallying point since the storm. I've been to New Orleans multiple times since then and the progress has been steady and strong.

The first few times back, I couldn't help but think about what New Orleans had been. But, somewhere along the way, New Orleans just started seeming like the New Orleans of old -- and in some ways, better than before. This Super Bowl is only going to help New Orleans continue to get better.

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter

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