At USAToday, Steve Wieberg discusses the Saints, the Sugar Bowl, and the big-event economy that comes with Super Bowls, Final Fours, etc. The piece is a bit puffy, as it trots out quotes from the usual cast of characters -- CEOs of the Sugar Bowl and the New Orleans Sports Foundation, for example -- and you can be pretty sure what they are going to say on the subject. The tenor of these statements, indeed the last word, is that "things are really restored," and that it is essential for New Orleans to convince the marketplace of that.
I can imagine that infrastructure for the tourist economy is largely back in place. But the demand for sport in general in New Orleans must surely reflect the overall state of the economy. A nettlesome fact for promoters is that New Orleans' population, which supports demand for the bread and butter professional game, is now less than 60% of its pre-Katrina level.
As Wieberg notes, the Saints' contract with the State of Louisiana expires after the 2010 season. The negotiations to renew that contract, along with the fate of the NBA's Hornets, will be interesting to follow in the coming months.