New Orleans plans to host the Super Bowl next year

NEW ORLEANS– New Orleans will host its 11th Super Bowl next year and preparations include showcasing the city's heralded architecture, music, food and party culture while tackling its myriad challenges, including crime, homelessness and an outdated drainage system.

Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry joined Mayor LaToya Cantrell and a host of other city and state officials at a downtown theater Tuesday for a news conference to discuss the lawsuit, kicking off what the Democratic mayor's “summer of the Super Bowl'. Landry, a Republican elected last year with a strong anti-crime message, promised the city will be one of the safest in the country by game day.

Road and sewer improvements and the use of state police to help the New Orleans Police Department fight crime are among the efforts.

On the infrastructure side, Michael Hecht, the president of a local economic development nonprofit, was recently tapped to coordinate preparations. He listed dozens of planned or ongoing projects, including repairs to streets and sidewalks, improvements to lighting and repairs to the outdated system of storm drains and pumps that are constantly pressurized to prevent flash flooding.

He also noted efforts by the city and local advocates to close and clean up homeless encampments and provide safer housing for those in need.

Only Miami has hosted more Super Bowls than New Orleans – the two cities will be at 11 each once the 59th game is played in February. But it's been nearly a dozen years since New Orleans hosted it, and local officials are eager to showcase the city again.

Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser noted that international media would fill much of the city's massive convention center on the Mississippi River in the week before the game. “We want to make sure we pump some of that great Louisiana food into the convention center and treat them like nowhere else,” he said.

Landry and members of his Cabinet emphasized the opportunity the game will give the state to show off its vital role as a port on the Mississippi and boost economic development efforts.

There was also an opportunity to address a moment that marred the big game the last time it was hosted in the Superdome.

Less than two minutes into the third quarter of the 2013 Super Bowl, a partial blackout in the dome delayed the game between the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers by 34 minutes.

Marcus Brown, executive vice president at Entergy, the company that supplies power to the dome, assured that this will not happen again.

“We have had several significant events at the Dome to prove and establish that we have the equipment and the redundancy to ensure that the Dome can get this game going without any issues,” Brown said.

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