New Orleans-TFR (The Fan Report) has learned that plans were in place to evacuate the Mercedes-Benz Super Dome as a result of the partial blackout that suspended Sunday’s Super Bowl by almost 30 minutes.
A New Orleans city official, speaking on the condition of anonymity said:
Within minutes of the blackout, rumors started to spread that the concession stands were running out of Bud Light and nachos. Even though there was plenty of Bud and sufficient amounts of corn dogs, a sense of panic was setting in. Having learned from Katrina, we decided to act quickly to prevent a catastrophe.
The city, working in conjunction with the NFL, asked the Obama administration to dispatch FEMA, the Federal Management Agency. Within minutes FEMA had a plan in place: evacuate the Super Dome and continue the second half in Houston. In a phone interview, FEMA confirmed the plan:
We made the decision to bus the whole damn Super Bowl to Houston. More than 80,000 fans, the teams, all of the TV equipment, Beyonce’s thighs and Ray Lewis’ ego. We had a slight logistical issue in that we were short about 1,200 buses, but the plan was ready for implementation when the lights came back on.
Having averted a major crisis, New Orleans officials expressed concern about the possibility of the NFL taking the city out of consideration for future Super Bowls. TFR tracked down commissioner Roger Goodel at Pat O’Briens Bar on Bourbon Street following the game. When asked if the blackout would influence his decision to bring the Super Bowl back to New Orleans, Goodell slurred:
What blackout! I freaking love this city, man. F#*k New York! I’m makin’ Pat O’Brien’s the official f#*king home of every Super Bowl ever. Oh, God, I think I’m gonna puke…