Speaking at a Jan. 16 lunch at House of Blues, Mayor Mitch Landrieu reminded New Orleans residents to "be gracious and wonderful hosts" when thousands of people visit New Orleans for Super Bowl XLVII. "It's our time to shine, it's our time to tell our story. ... It's important to me that we do the thing we do better than anybody, which is be nice and be hospitable."
Landrieu also urged residents to extend the hospitality to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, whom many New Orleans Saints fans hold at least partially responsible for the team's troubled 2012 season. Bars and restaurants haven't rolled out their welcome mats — Finn McCool's Irish Pub and Parkview Tavern in Mid-City have posted dartboards bearing Goodell's likeness. Others have banned him outright.
"I know everybody in the city is bellyaching about the last year," Landrieu said. "But here's the thing: Roger Goodell has always been a friend to the city of New Orleans, and he and (former commissioner) Paul Tagliabue ... have worked really hard to make sure (the Super Bowl) stays here. ... Mind your P's and Q's."
Afterward, Landrieu told Gambit, "There's got to be a wall between what happened in the past and what goes on in the regular season and the Super Bowl. It's just not becoming and it doesn't make any sense. I would ask [New Orleanians] to treat every citizen that comes in from whatever team, doesn't matter whether it's the commissioner, to treat them with dignity and respect."
James Carville, who co-chairs the committee, told Gambit, "You do what your mama tells you. You treat people right when they're in your house. I think people will. We've got Coach (Sean) Payton back, we're anxious to put this behind us, and we're excited about the game."
When asked specifically about the Goodell dartboards, Carville chuckled. "I get that," he said. "He's got to have thick skin." — Alex Woodward