Super Bowl week kicks off with NFL Experience, Media Day - FOX 8, WVUE, fox8live.com, weather, app, news, saints

Super Bowl week kicks off with NFL Experience, Media Day

The city of New Orleans takes a break from the world's greatest free show to host one of the world's biggest sporting events.

5,000 members of the news media from all over the world are already in town, and a week's worth of events is kicking off.  If you got caught in a traffic jam Monday morning, you are now officially part of the Super Bowl extravaganza.

New Orleans is hosting thousands of the country's biggest movers and shakers and the hoopla has begun, notably with the unveiling of the NFL Experience.  It features over 40 interactive games, exhibits, and photo ops for football fans to enjoy, and it's eating up seven halls in the Morial Convention Center.

Beginning Wednesday, NFL fans will be able to come to the center and participate in what's called the NFL's theme park.  And while thousands will head there to have fun, it's the city that's really about to score big.

"The Super Bowl gives us an opportunity, and to use it to rebuild a city better than it was before," said New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu.

Five city playgrounds will be redone this Saturday, and the airport has had a major facelift.

New Orleanians will be able to enjoy much of the party. Woldenberg Park is being transformed into Super Bowl Boulevard near the Audubon Aquarium. Beginning Thursday night, nearly 70 bands will perform over the next four days on four stages.  And Saints fans can put on their black and gold jersey, and come to the NFL Experience on Wednesday for a $5 discount.

While this Super Bowl is still six days away, the city already has its sights on another Super Bowl in five years.  "We would like to bid on 2018.  The saints had talked to all the ownership about that." said Jay Cicero with the New Orleans Sports Foundation.

But first things first -- making a good impression for Sunday's big game.

"There's no other place that hosts it like New Orleans," said Saints owner and vice president Rita Benson LeBlanc.

Other big events this week include Media Day Tuesday at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. 

On Wednesday, the NFL Experience opens to the public at 3:00 p.m.

And Thursday, Super Bowl XLVII's Roman numerals arrive by barge off Woldenberg Park.  A big welcome ceremony is planned for that,  including a film screening and light and music show.  That begins at 6:00 Thursday night.  So will several concerts on the riverfront -- those will continue through Super Bowl weekend.

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