NEW ORLEANS -- Efforts to bring back what would be the first Super Bowl in 12 years to New Orleans reached an important step on Wednesday as multimedia previews of the bid proposal by the New Orleans Saints and the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation were packed up for shipping to each NFL owner.
Encased in wooden boxes built from cypress by a local cabinet maker, the packages carry the slogan "A Perfect 10," a nod to what would be the city's 10th Super Bowl should the bid be successful.
Each NFL owner will receive a box, also featuring art by young local artists. The artwork on each box is unique, playing off the official logo of each NFL club.
Inside the boxes are books outlining the technical aspects of bid proposal, along with an iPod containing a brief video. The book covers also feature art by the YA/YA Kids, artists ages 14-18 who are enrolled in a selective local art program.
Jay Cicero, the sports foundation's president, said the boxes are meant "to impress (the owners) and show them that we're not taking it for granted that New Orleans has hosted this nine times."
"We know that it's not a given that it's going to be awarded to New Orleans and we really want to make the impression on them that we have a strong desire to host this again for a perfect 10th time," Cicero said.
NFL owners will vote on bids by New Orleans, Miami and Phoenix to host the 2013 Super Bowl in meetings May 19-20.
The last Super Bowl in New Orleans was in 2002. Uncertainty over the Saints' future in the Louisiana Superdome has hindered efforts to attract another. However, the state and Saints announced last week a lease extension through 2025 that, if approved by the state Legislature, will also include $85 million in upgrades to the Superdome.
"In a lot of ways, we're providing a new stadium with the advantages of the old stadium," Saints vice president Ben Hales said.
Hales said the Super Bowl bid is a priority for club owner Tom Benson and his granddaughter, part owner Rita Benson LeBlanc.
"Mr. Benson, Rita, the whole team is so optimistic about where the city is going and where we've come from, that this is really the perfect thing to bring back to the city and show the rest of the world what we're capable of doing," Hales said.
Cicero and Hales said the bid presentation will not focus much on the city's recovery from Hurricane Katrina, but rather the city's success hosting major events since the storm, including the BCS National Championship game in January 2008 and the NBA All-Star game about a month after that.
"We absolutely acknowledge the role the NFL has played in reopening the Superdome and helping this city come back. I don't think we shy away from that at all," Hales said. "At the same time, we're really proud to show them where we are right now. Our presentation is about what New Orleans can offer that nobody else can, not so much about what happened to New Orleans, but what New Orleans has become."
The bid will outline planned improvements to the dome, as well as the convenient short distances -- in many cases walkable -- from the stadium to major hotels, famous restaurants, convention space and the historic French Quarter.
"We do things differently here. In a lot of ways our city is built to host Super Bowls. Our industry in hospitality, the way our city is laid out, the proximity of the stadium to all of the different venues is tremendous and it really is something that other cities just can't compete with."