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We're approaching the two-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and it's unfortunate legacy on a wonderful American city.

Yesterday, New Orleans did for the first time something it had done so successfully so many times in the pre-Katrina days.  It held a championship sports event.  You may have missed it but the San Jose SaberCats beat the Columbus Destroyers, 55-33, in the Arena Bowl (winning San Jose quarterback Mark Grieb and mother Shelly are pictured at right).  For San Jose, it was its third title in six years.  But the big news, I think, was that the game represented one more step for New Orleans in its comeback.

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It's estimated that the economic impact on the region from the Arena Bowl was anywhere from $15 million to $25 million.  Obviously, that's hardly in Super Bowl territory and more than the half of the 15,000 who attended the game at the New Orleans Arena were locals, which meant fewer tourist dollars, but the attendance was much better than recent Arena Football League championship games held in Las Vegas.

What we have come to learn about New Orleans after Katrina is that the rebuilding there is progressing terribly slowly.  Both in terms of repiling sticks on top of bricks and in reclaiming its place in domestic tourism,  the Big Easy is finding the going not so easy at all.  So whatever occasion can be seized on to remind the world that this city can still live up to its trademark expression, "Laissez les bons temps rouler!" -- to let the good times roll -- is a good thing indeed.

Photo credit:  Alex Brandon/AP

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