BOURBON STREET BEDLAM: New Orleans Saints tame Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV

Wade McIntyre
Moments after the New Orleans Saints beat the Indianapolis Colts, 31-17 in Super Bowl XLIV, revelers spilled into French Quarter streets.

NEW ORLEANS – One might have expected every inch of the city to be pulsing with sound and longing in a New Orleans Saints victory over the Indianapolis Colts Sunday night, but during one brief moment with the Saints trailing 10-6, quiet and near silence filled the air at the corner of Royal and Ursulines in the French Quarter.

The Colts owned the lead, and were receiving the second half kickoff. Suddenly, the shutters of a ground level apartment on Royal flew open with a clatter, and a lad in a Saints football jersey burst out, run-hopping hands over head up the sidewalk towards Canal, yelling at the top of his lungs, a young Paul Revere spreading profoundly important news.

“The Saints have the ball!” was his cry, “The Saints have the ball!”

New Orleans had surprised the Colts and everyone in America with an onside kick to open the half, one of the most stunning and audacious plays in Super Bowl history, turning the tide of the close battle to the Saints, who were now on their way to 31-17 win in Super Bowl XLIV.

Still, the crowds in the bars and homes in the Quarter and the Faubourg Marigny clung to their televisions sets. There was no overflow into the streets until the game was officially on ice.

When that moment came, a woman and man ran out of one the bars near Bourbon Street and St. Anne whopping the  “Who Dat?” chant.

The pair was followed by more revelers running in the street. A television cameraman appeared, a crowd began swarming around him in a circle that took up the street from side to side. In less than a minute, it was impossible to walk on Bourbon. The New Orleans party the city was throwing for itself now that it finally had a Super Bowl trophy was underway.

In the Marigny, crowds flocked out the clubs on Frenchman Street and traffic began backing up as bystanders high-fived those in the vehicles. Horns blew everywhere, and no one cared.

One woman emerging from her home with three friends grabbed a passerby and said, “I knew we were going to win, I knew it!” Then came a heartfelt admission: “But, I was a little bit nervous.”

In a Bourbon Street crowd where it was difficult to walk, these Saints fans secured rides above it all.