Super Bowl hosting "big lift" post-Katrina, mayor says

(CBS News) New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu called hosting the Super Bowl a "big lift" for the city seven years since Hurricane Katrina ripped through the Gulf Coast.

"This is a big event, putting it right in the middle of Mardi Gras, which is the biggest freak show on Earth. So it's big lift for us ... I'm proud of everybody," he said Thursday on "CBS This Morning."

This is the 10th time the city has hosted a Super Bowl. The last time was in 2002, shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks. Landrieu said Super Bowl XLVII will have a "much, much larger" footprint than that Super Bowl.

He added this event "gives us the opportunity to show the rest of the world how incredible the people of New Orleans are and really to thank them for everything they did to help us stand back up."

The Super Bowl has been a way for the city to rally together, Landrieu said, pointing to the Saints' title win in 2010. "We got to see each other again for the first time post-Katrina, that fateful game when we beat Atlanta, and then we started saying, 'We've got a chance to win again.' And in the past seven years, I think we've seen the people of New Orleans and the metropolitan area do heroic things to get the city stood back up. You can't put on a Super Bowl like this if you're not clicking on all cylinders."

However, the city isn't completely back from the storm and it does have its issues apart from the devastating natural disasters. "Katrina and Rita did not cause all of New Orleans' problems," Landrieu said. "Like every major city we struggled with health care, infrastructure, health care delivery systems and education, but one of the things that has happened is the people of New Orleans have really stopped the bleed that started a long time ago, really transformed the city into moving in the right direction.

"It would be unfair to say the city's completely back," he added. "We have areas of the city that are still struggling. But you will find out as you try to rebuild the northeast, some places will come back faster than others. ... Some places hurt longer. It really is going to be a matter of national policies as we get back into urban areas, as we really reinvest in schools and education and build that capacity so America can be great again. But the people of New Orleans, I think, have shown the nation a light at the end of the tunnel and how to get there."

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