Super Bowl Survival Guide: New Orleans
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The most anticipated night in football is nearly upon us, and an estimated 100,000 to 125,000 visitors will descend upon the Crescent City in time for Super Bowl XLVII. This year marks the 10th time New Orleans has played host to the big game, but 2013’s game is a milestone: It’s the first time the city has hosted the Super Bowl since Hurricane Katrina. That means there are plenty of new and improved services and events planned for out-of-town guests and locals alike.
If you’re in town to catch the big game — either at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome or in one of the city’s rowdy sports bars — you’ll want to know these insider’s tips and tricks for surviving the Super Bowl in New Orleans. We're sharing where to go to get the best party supplies, the best dishes in the Superdome, and what not to bring into the game (hint: any food or beverage has got to go before you head to the stadium).
And if you’ve scored a ticket to watch the game inside the Superdome (and all your friends and family are green with envy), defend against looking like an idiot inside the arena with these practical tips from Jerry Romig, the stadium announcer for the New Orleans Saints for more than 40 seasons. Romig sounds off on how to stay safe and enjoy the big game.
We’ll give you all the tips you need to survive the Super Bowl — game on!
1. If you want to tailgate, parking spaces close to the Superdome are reserved well in advance of game day. Check with individual parking lot companies like Fulton Place Parking Center, Premium Parking (premiumparking.com), and Merit Parking to find out about spaces that may be still available.
2. If you have a ticket to the Super Bowl, don’t miss out on all the pregame action at Champions Square, a 121,000-square-foot outdoor festival venue open for Super Bowl XLVII. The plaza will host a "Game Day Fan Plaza" where ticketholders can party before kickoff with dozens of food vendors and beer tents.
3. In addition to the game itself, don’t miss the NFL experience for super fans in the Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Convention Center. From Jan. 30 to Feb. 3, 2013, the Convention Center will play host to displays of memorabilia from Super Bowls past along with free autograph sessions and opportunities for future MVP’s to punt, run and pass the ball, along with much more. Tickets are $25 per adult, $20 per child 12 and under.
4. Want to score a table at one of New Orleans’s hottest dining establishments like August or ROOT? You most likely should have played it safe and booked early, but keep in mind that some reservations may suddenly become available. If there’s a restaurant you really want to try, call back in case any cancelations occur or try to have a drink at the bar — your hostess may be able to squeeze you in. You can check out our Drink, Eat/Dine, and Travel pages for New Orleans to get more ideas of where to eat and drink during the weekend.
5. Bars will undoubtedly be packed Super Bowl weekend — check out the best sports bars in New Orleans leading up to the game that are off the beaten path. (Let’s just say the parties at Walk-On’s Bistreaux & Bar are not to be missed.) If you are going heavy on the drinks for the game, don’t forget to hydrate. If watching the big game at a bar or restaurant is on your agenda, make sure you order and drink one glass of water for every alcoholic drink.
6. Out-of-town guests can stock up on groceries and bites with local flavor at Rouses Supermarket, conveniently located just a few blocks from the Superdome in the heart of the Central Business District. Just remember — you can’t bring in your own food and drink to the game.
7. Tip your bartenders. Period. New Orleans’s bartenders are famous for their hospitality, so don’t be afraid to show them some love on what will be one of the busiest weekends of the year.
8. Travel to the West Bank of New Orleans via the Canal Street Ferry to get a great view of Verizon’s Super Bowl Boulevard and Woldenberg Park where the iconic Super Bowl Roman numerals XLVII will be placed. This is a prime photo opportunity, and in the days leading up to the big game, expect free concerts along the boulevard.
Game Day Tips
9. "If you’re lucky enough to have scored a ticket, hold on to it," says Romig, the co-chair of the Super Bowl PR Host Committee. “Make sure no one tries to steal it.” You may be proud of your big purchase, but with tickets averaging about $3,000 each, that’s one valuable piece of paper. Guard it accordingly.
10. Security is going to be tight. "Don’t bring unnecessary objects into the Dome," says Romig. Prohibited items include backpacks, laser pointers, outside food and drink, and noisemakers. See a full list of banned items here.
11. "The Superdome is one of the great places for a football game. The food service is first class with local flair," says Romig. "The last thing you want to order, though, is a hot dog or hamburger; spring for something well prepared." For the Super Bowl, in addition to standard concession foods, Centerplate — the Superdome’s official caterer — will offer a menu of classic Louisiana dishes like muffalettas, chicken and sausage gumbo, and alligator chili.
12 "Come to New Orleans to enjoy the people and atmosphere, along with the football," says Romig. New Orleanians are some of the friendliest folks around, so make sure to chat up your seatmates, bartenders, and stadium employees regardless of which team you’re cheering on.
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