New Orleans — Not seconds after Garrett Hartley kicked the winning field goal Sunday night to take the New Orleans Saints to the Super Bowl for the first time, people were literally dancing in the streets of the French Quarter.

Fire trucks were sounding their horns; honking cars were filled with people yelling, “Who Dat.” Within minutes Poydras and Canal Streets became totally blocked. Bourbon Street became one big lovefest as thousands of people poured onto the streets from the bars, restaurants, hotel rooms and homes where they had been watching the game.  More people poured in as the celebration moved from the Superdome to streets all over New Orleans.

Total strangers were hugging, high fiving and fist bumping each other. This was more than just a football game, you know.  This was an affirmation that New Orleans, itself, was back from the brink.

My friends and I were lucky enough to be in the Crescent City and join in the celebration. We saw three generations of women on Bourbon Street with the granddaughter wheeling her grandmother through the maze of people. Old and young all together to thank the football gods for this amazing season that ain’t over yet. Oh what a night!

Martha W. Fagan contributed to this article.

PHOTO 1:Before the game, the streets in the French Quarter were deserted and silent.

PHOTO 2: Inside homes and bars — like Kerry’s Irish pub — however, the atmosphere was boisterous, if sometimes tense.

PHOTOS 3-5: As soon as the game ended, fans began pouring into the streets. From top, outside Kerry’s pub, on Bourbon Street and onto Canal Street.

PHOTO 6: Even the folks at the venerable restaurant Galatoire’s joined in the jubilation.

PHOTO 7: A “rally” bus proclaims the unanimous sentiment of all New Orleans.

Chrys B. Graham

Chrys B. Graham

Chrysis Boswell Graham lives in Atlanta and St. Simons Island, Georgia. She grew up in Mobile, Alabama, and also has lived in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and Knoxville, Tennessee. For many years, she was a flight attendant for Delta Air Lines, a company that grew out of a crop-dusting service in Monroe, Louisiana.