Bowl games start this weekend with the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl at 11 AM Eastern, so we sit down with Mike Haggar, Mayor of New Orleans, to discuss the logistical challenges cities face in the postseason.
EDSBS: Thank you for taking the time to chat with us today, Mayor Haggar.
HAGGAR: It's my pleasure.
EDSBS: What does it mean to New Orleans to play host to the first bowl game of the year?
HAGGAR: We're incredibly honored to kick off the postseason for the fans, and we want the fans to feel just as excited and welcome here as they would at the national championship. It's easy to focus on the Final Fight, but where would we be without the First Fight? In many ways, the first Axl I punched to death was just as important as Damnd. That's what makes college football and beating hordes of street toughs so special.
EDSBS: Ticket sales have lagged a bit this year. Does that concern you?
HAGGAR: Well, we understand some of the factors behind that - it's a long trip for Nevada fans, and the novelty has worn off for some of the Lafayette faithful. But I'm confident that people will come for the same reasons they've been visiting our fine city for decades: great music, good times, and the freshest barrel food you'll find.
EDSBS: I have to ask...do you ever wear a shirt?
HAGGAR: (laughing) I would if I could find one that fit! Seriously, it's very hard to find something made for a man with two extra sets of triceps.
EDSBS: You'll also be hosting Ohio State and Alabama on January 1st. In the sixteen years of the BCS era, the Sugar Bowl was played on New Year's Day just five times. What are the challenges of hosting this event within 24 hours of one of the busiest nights in the city?
HAGGAR: We've learned through experience that it's all about resources. You can't underestimate the number of oil drums or pipes or roast chickens just sitting on the ground that you'll need. Have you seen a New Orleans crowd that runs out of oil drums to throw at 11:30? It's not pretty.
EDSBS: There, was, of course, the unsavory incident at Krystal in 2012.
HAGGAR: Totally unacceptable, and we'll respond quickly to any similar acts. I know we have a reputation as a rowdy, anything goes town, but there are limits. That's why we built the Designated Window Smashing Factory.
You want to break some glass, don't throw a barstool through a restaurant window. Just head there. We're not Puritans.
EDSBS: Any predictions you want to offer for either game?
HAGGAR: Hey, if I had that kind of ability, I'd be too rich to pile driver someone in an alley! I'm kidding, of course. That's the kind of pleasure money can't buy.