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RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

Down in New Orleans, it's a holiday after the Saints' first-ever victory in the Super Bowl last night - first time they've been to the Super Bowl, in fact. New Orleans beat Indianapolis 31 to 17, setting up a celebration in the streets. Some residents see the win as a sign of this city's rebirth. NPR's Debbie Elliott has more.

Unidentified Group: Who dat? Who dat? Who dat saying they're going to beat the Saints? Who dat...

DEBBIE ELLIOTT: At DaCharro's(ph), a pub just a few blocks from the Superdome, the champagne corks were flying when it became clear the Saints' 43-year wait for a championship was over.

(Soundbite of cheers)

ELLIOTT: The bar's owner, Greg Fay(ph), says this football season has been magical.

Mr. GREG FAY (Owner, DaCharro's): New Orleans needed it. You know, we have suffered so much since Katrina, and most people don't realize how down this city still is. We've lost so much business and so many residents. But you know, we're still here, and we're still fighting to stay here.

ELLIOTT: But this weekend, the city was thriving. Fans stepped out in their black and gold and paraded through the French Quarter.

Unidentified Group: Who dat saying they're going to beat the Saints? Who dat? Who dat?

ELLIOTT: They lined up to have their faces painted with the fleur-de- lis, and gathered last night for a prayer vigil at the St. Louis Cathedral, waving signs that read: Bless you, boys. The headline in this morning's Times Picayune: Amen.

(Soundbite of fire truck horn)

Mr. MIKE SHIELDS (Firefighter): Who dat, baby?

ELLIOTT: Last night, firefighter Mike Shields and his colleagues were on duty in the Warehouse District, but got to watch most of the game.

Mr. SHIELDS: It's a dream come true. You know, just - words can't describe the feeling - the way we feel right now.

ELLIOTT: He believes between the Saints and Saturday's mayor's election, it's a new beginning.

Mr. SHIELDS: We've got something good here. We've got the Super Bowl. We've got a new mayor. We've got a new look, you know, a new outlook on the future.

(Soundbite of car horns)

ELLIOTT: Moments after the game ended, people hurried toward the French Quarter for the kind of celebration the city has perfected.

Mr. DARRYL TURNER(ph): New Orleans, baby. Yeah, baby. Yeah, baby. They said we couldn't do it, but guess what? I believe it. Saints go all the way.

ELLIOTT: Darryl Turner, who lives in the Lower Ninth Ward, is standing on Poydras Street, waving a black-and-gold umbrella at the passing traffic. He says the underdog Saints are proof that this city can turn itself around.

Mr. TURNER: It feels that no matter what obstacle we go through, no matter what come our way, there ain't nothing we can't do if we put our mind to it, baby. You see, when everybody comes together - black, white, Chinese, Portuguese; I don't care what color you is - when everybody comes together, you can make something happen. That's what we need in this city, to make something happen.

ELLIOTT: New Orleans is here to stay, he says. We ain't going nowhere.

Debbie Elliot, NPR News, New Orleans.

(Soundbite of music)

MONTAGNE: This is NPR News.

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