Sugar Bowl fans roll in, help tourism in the process - FOX 8, WVUE, fox8live.com, weather, app, news, saints

Sugar Bowl fans roll in, help tourism in the process

Louisville fans walk along Decatur Street. Louisville fans walk along Decatur Street.

New Orleans, La. -- It did not take long for Sugar Bowl fans to hit the French Quarter after arriving in town for Wednesday's game in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

The Louisville Cardinals' red seemed to be visible for blocks before lunch time as fans toured downtown.

"I'm really excited for the game, and I'm really excited to be down here in general, I'm really looking forward to it," said Louisville fan Elaine Sheraroo.

Not to be undone, many Florida Gators fans were also on the street, sporting their team colors. And some of them give new meaning to die-hard.

"Since birth," said Laverne Bozeman, as she stood next to her husband Bob and some of their kids and grand kids.

Both of them are in their 80's and are proud of their family's loyalty to the team.

"All of our kids have been in Gainesville. She's in Gainesville going to the University of Florida," continued Mrs. Bozeman.

"Our favorite trip was beating Florida State 52 to 20. We remember things like that," said Brenda Frizzell, daughter of the Bozemans and a Gators fan.

The buildup to the game is always sweet for the local tourism industry.

"[It] represents about $150 million economic impact to the city, so we're really excited about the fans that are in town from Louisville, from Florida and really from all over the region," said Mark Romig, CEO and president of the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation.

By mid morning the line outside Cafe' du Monde was stretched down the block.

"That's what we came here for, I want to try them," said Louisville fan Gary Smith, who was decked out in Louisville fan wear.

Downtown hotels are filling up with fans from both teams.

"We're about 93 percent occupied tonight in our hotels, and we expect healthy hotel business for tomorrow night, as well as Wednesday night, the night of the game," stated Romig.

NOPD officers are highly visible downtown to make tourists feel safe.

Even though only one team will get the coveted Sugar Bowl trophy, fans of both are banking on a win.

"I think they're going to do pretty good," said Mattie Weber, who was wearing a Florida Gators T-shirt.

"I feel like it's going to be a tight game but I feel like we can do it because we have a spirited quarterback," said Smith," who hoping for a Louisville win.

"I think we're going to win, definitely, we had a good year," said Carly Holbert, a Florida fan.

Until game day, there is lot of partying to be had, fans said.

"Tomorrow is my 21st birthday, so we're going to have a good time tonight," said fellow Florida fan Alex Meckley.

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