UPDATE: Big win means big lift for the Big Easy

By The Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS — It was evident in the sounds of busy cash registers and in the smiles of construction workers in a neighborhood where Hurricane Katrina’s scars linger: the Saints’ journey to the Super Bowl has added bounce to this city’s long hard recovery and a new reason to party going into the raucous Mardi Gras season.

It was even reflected in the political discourse.

At a forum of candidates for mayor on Monday afternoon, one candidate promised to hire “the Drew Brees of police chiefs” if he wins the election.

The Saints’ 31-28 Sunday night victory over Minnesota also could mean an economic lift: Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Stephen Moret (MOH’ Ray) says the ensuing trip to the Super Bowl puts a positive national spotlight on the state.

They are headed to Miami for a meeting with New Orleans’ native son Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts in two weeks. The Colts (16-2) won the AFC crown by beating the New York Jets 30-17, and are an early 4-point favorite over the Saints (15-3).

Click here for Saints Alive! blog post from Writer’s Brew as Features and Special Sections Editor Leslie Criss looks back at the night of the big Saints win.