If you haven't check it out already, do yourself a favor and read Wright Thompson's essay, "Saints the soul of America's city" on ESPN.com. Thompson, who covered LSU at the Times-Picayune from 2001-2002 does a pretty masterful job of explaining to a national audience what the Saints mean to New Orleans.
There are cameos by Kermit Ruffins, Gambit's own Ian McNulty, Anh "Joseph" Cao and James Carville that gives the story an authentic feel (clearly, Thompson knows his stuff about New Orleans). But most importantly, he does it without the cheap sentimentality and recovery clichés that have pervaded most out-of-town coverage of this team (he even relates an anecdote about a New York paper adding a lame clause about how New Orleans was depressed and hopeless until the Saints began this season).
Thompson gives the Saints' executive vice president Rita Benson Leblanc her proper due as a football executive but falls short of canonizing her (though he does include a quote from former CNN CEO Walter Isaacson where he calls Benson a saint). And Thompson makes the most important distinction to readers: New Orleans was on the path of recovery before the Saints began this season. If anything, the Black and Gold are proof of what's been rebuilt, not some hokey inspiration for a dying city.
In any case, Who Dat fans