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Saints in Superdome Signals New Orleans' Return

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Saints in Superdome Signals New Orleans' Return

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Saints in Superdome Signals New Orleans' Return

Saints in Superdome Signals New Orleans' Return

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Monday Night Football will feature the New Orleans Saints and the Atlanta Falcons in the grand reopening of the Louisiana Superdome. The game will transform a structure that became notorious as a Hurricane Katrina shelter into an icon of the city's rebirth.

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

In New Orleans, there's a good reason for optimism today. The Superdome is reopening for Monday Night Football - a year after Hurricane Katrina.

Commentator Chris Rose will be there.

Mr. CHRIS ROSE (Columnist, Times-Picayune, New Orleans): For New Orleans, the presence of more than 1,000 credentialed members of the media, and U2, and Kobe Bryant, and former President George Bush -elevate this simple game into an event of Super Bowl proportions.

The Superdome, for the past year an icon of our national disgrace, is now a cause for celebration. The Superdome is the most visible building on our city's skyline. Its durability is our durability. Its shame is was our shame.

And the Saints returning to play there, after playing all their home games in other cities last season, is a triumph. A return to normalcy? That word isn't even in our vocabulary. But this isn't just Monday Night Football, this is a community reborn.

Tonight's game is sold out. Every game this season is sold out. It doesn't make sense: people paying that kind of money for tickets to a game when they still don't have any sheetrock or shingles on their houses and they're living in trailers or with relatives.

Well go ahead, then, judge us. We're alive, damn it, and tonight the whole world is going to be reminded of that.

We used to cringe when sports broadcasts from here cut away before the commercial to some hackneyed cliché like streetcars, saxophone players, or oyster-shuckers. But when we see them tonight, we'll raise a fist in defiance. Because those will be live shots, not old file tape. Let it be known that this town, a beat-down three-legged dog with mange and fleas, still hunts.

We're finally making ground against Katrina, our biggest foe. Now, whether we can handle the Atlanta quarterback, Michael Vick, is another story altogether.

Either way the game goes, chalk up a big W for the city of New Orleans, as we come out of our shellshock and collective despair and lay some claim to the joyous, celebratory, musical, and somewhat nonsensical people that we are. Glory halleluiah, our Saints come marching home!

(Soundbite of song “When the Saints Go Marching In”)

Mr. EDDIE BO (Singer): (Singing) When the saints go marching on in…

MONTAGNE: Commentator Chris Rose is a columnist for the Times-Picayune.

Mr. BO: (Singing) …go marching on in, well I want to be…

MONTAGNE: This is NPR News.

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