Fred Hickman: A super cool week In New Orleans

Photo by Al Domescik
Photo by Al Domescik

My, how things have changed.

When the San Francisco 49ers trounced the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXIV right here in New Orleans in 1990, it was indeed a media big deal... for the time. My friend Christopher Russo, at the time the co-host of 'Mike and the Mad Dog' on WFAN radio in New York -- at the time, the most popular sports talk station in America -- shared radio row with a grand total of ONE other station, Boston's WEEI. That was it.

Fast forward to 2013 and Super Bowl XLVII, and we have a whole different picture. You couldn't count the number of stations broadcasting from the Morial Convention Center. I can tell you that there are more than 5,200 media representatives here in our city this week, and that Sunday's game will be broadcast to 175 nations around the globe. And, as a relatively new but a grateful adopted child of New Orleans, I'm pleased to say we've given my colleagues nothing but good things to report.

When Katrina struck the city back in August of 2005, all seemed lost. The Superdome became a lifeboat for those who'd lost everything else. And many around the country had given up on New Orleans as a city which would not, could not, and should not be rebuilt -- that those who were displaced would not come back, and that no one in their right mind would ever move here.

Those 'many' were wrong. We have rebuilt and are still building. We did come back. We have moved here, and I'm proud to say my wife, children and I are among that latter number.

New Orleans isn't the only city I've called home, but I pray it is the last. I love it here for all the reasons those visiting for the Super Bowl are seeing, in some small degree, for themselves. We live, we love, we take care of one another in New Orleans. We've lived through subsequent storms, oil spills, and other disasters and come out on the other side smiling and more determined than ever -- not just to rebuild, but to build better.

And so, to all of you who are visiting us, welcome.  More important, welcome back on your next visit -- because, as they say, you ain't seen nothing yet!