NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Shades of red dominated as Sugar Bowl fans geared up for the big game.
"A lot of guys are ready to step up and show the SEC what's really real," says Kyle Cowell.
"We just got here this morning, and we're ready to play," says John Bohan.
For most fans, though, the party started days earlier in the French Quarter.
"We had a blast. The pictures are awesome," says Scott Bridewell.
As the visitors arrived in town, many couldn't help but notice signs posted in the Quarter warning them to walk in large groups.
"I mean we did what we were asked and told to do. Everything was fine. We just walked in groups and stayed in groups," says Tom Bruce.
Meanwhile officers and state troopers could be seen on almost every corner on Bourbon St. providing extra security. Some Ohio fans admitted to dropping their guard on New Year's Eve, and one of them became a victim when he was pick-pocketed on Bourbon.
"Everybody was drinking and having a good time, and people weren't paying attention. Things happen," says Gabriel Webb.
"There are some places you just don't need to go. It was his first time here, but we were good on the main street," says Scott Bridewell.
For the most part, everyone we talked to said they felt safe. Many are so happy with their visit, they're already promoting the city to others.
"It's a great town. The atmosphere is great. Everybody was safe. If you're looking for a vacation spot, this is it," says Harold Dorbin.
City leaders says area hotels are nearly filled to capacity. The Sugar Bowl fans helped make it a strong fourth quarter finish for New Orleans.
In addition to the bowl game, the city hosted six major conventions, the Bayou Classic and a Thanksgiving weekend with nearly 200,000 visitors in the past three months.
"This is a great place. I would like to see it when it's a little bit warmer, so I'll come back when it's about 65 degrees. It's a great place to visit," says Tom Bruce.
Some are already promising to return, while others are making the best of their time in New Orleans now.