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Sunday, February 3, 2013
Wrapping up a weekend of Super Bowl parties

By Kelley L. Carter
Special to espnW

Celebrity Beach Bowl
Michael Strahan coached the blue team to a victory at DIRECTV'S Celebrity Beach Bowl on Saturday.

NEW ORLEANS --- What day is it?

After three non-stop days of late nights, early mornings and non-stop parties, I'm not quite sure what year it is, much less the day. Oh. That's right. It's Super Bowl Sunday. Saturday was the last day to pregame it with celebrities and famous athletes before the real reason we all gathered gets started.

As usual, the offerings for VIP-friendly events were more than I could handle, but you better believe I gave it a try.

DIRECTV Celebrity Beach Bowl

Why that title: DIRECTV brought the beach to New Orleans, and celebrities like Lil Wayne and Snoop Lion (yes, you read that right) battled it out in a flag football match in front of thousands of fans.

Beach Bowl
"The Vampire Diaries" actor Ian Somerhalder poses with Olympian Lolo Jones at the Celebrity Beach Bowl.

Where: DTV SuperFan Stadium at Mardi Gras World

Performers: Aside from Snoop and Wayne, Neil Patrick Harris, Katharine McPhee, Josh Hutcherson, Maria Menounos, Jesse Williams, Lolo Jones, Deion Sanders, Warren Moon and Eddie George all participated in the game. Celebrities got to visit the adjacent gifting suite put on by GBK. (Normally, celebrities walk away with anywhere from $20,000 to $30,000 in free gifts.) Anthony Anderson, who also played in the game, fell for a pair of BoomPhones -- headphones that turn into a boom box. Lucky guy.

Celebrities spotted: All of the above plus Shawn Johnson, Terrell Owens and Michael Strahan.

Celebrities who were confirmed, but we didn't spot: Nope. This place was crawling with 'em. We were wickedly impressed.

Overheard: "T.O. says he's just going to run at me and jump over me. I'm not sure how I got matched up against him," petite Olympian Shawn Johnson told us. "All I did was get on a treadmill to prepare for this. I'm scared."

Food factor: We spotted some boxed lunches, but otherwise, this was an event to sweat it out.

New Orleans rating: Mardi Gras, because it felt like one of the most festive occasions happening in the city. The venue space was actually near a warehouse full of all things Mardi Gras and walking into the flag football game, we saw high school bands performing and marching on the streets and gearing up. Got us excited.

DIRECTV's Super Saturday Night Party

Why that title: The Saturday night party was hosted by DIRECTV, Mark Cuban and Justin Timberlake.

Where: DTV SuperFan Stadium at Mardi Gras World

Performers: Justin Timberlake, with Quest Love as DJ.

Celebrities spotted: Jay-Z, Timbaland, Matt Kemp, Hill Harper and The Roots.

Celebrities who were confirmed, but we didn't spot: Truthfully? We could have cared less. Timberlake, Jay-Z and Timbaland were on stage.

Overheard: "Um, yeah. I'm here for the game. This is the reason to come here, right?" Matt Kemp said. Yeah, but doesn't he know there's an industry of people who just come here for events like this one?

Food factor: There were stations of catered food set up and open bars as far as the eyes could see. But because we were party hopping, we immediately ran to the stage and bypassed all of the nibbly bits.

New Orleans rating: Where y'at? because this will be the party that will define other Super Bowl parties, and if you weren't there, you'll wonder exactly what else was more important than seeing what we saw on stage! Justin Timberlake hadn't performed in concert in five years. This was an epic night, and was the best party of the Super Bowl week.

GQ XLVII

Why that title: It's a party put on by GQ magazine; one that's known for hosting some of the best and more intimate Super Bowl affairs.

Where: The Elms Mansion

Performers: Once again, hometown hero Lil Wayne performed. This time, he graced the stage for a six-song set, and rocked the mike the only way he knows how: hard.

Celebrities spotted: Kate Upton, Victor Cruz, Terrell Owens, Hayden Panettiere, David Arquette and Terry Crews. The giveaways were cool: Lacoste screened T-shirts, shoes (for select VIPS) and there was a cool area set up to take pictures. Guests at the mansion sipped on Patron black, and there a DeLorean parked out front. A DeLorean. We thought it was cool.

Celebrities who were confirmed, but we didn't spot: J. Cole, 50 Cent and Zoe Saldana.

Overheard: "You can touch the stage!" one gleeful party goer exclaimed. And the party goer was right. You could. And it was super cool and unlike what we saw earlier in the week at Lil Wayne's other event, the EA Madden Bowl.

Food factor: Black bean quiche, spinach Rockefeller, fried green tomatoes and cucumber sandwiches.

New Orleans rating: Rajun Cajun! Let's be honest, here: you can't go wrong with Lil Wayne hosting your party. You can't. Not in New Orleans; not anywhere.