NEW ORLEANS—Over 70,000 elated New Orleans Saints fans celebrated the first professional football game to take place in the newly renovated Superdome since Hurricane Katrina Monday night by joyously rushing from their seats onto the field, ripping down the goal posts, destroying the playing surface, and trampling three people to death after the Saints' 23-3 win over the Atlanta Falcons.
"This city is back!" said Marcus Hammond, one of 5,000 Saints fans who rushed from the French Quarter to seek refuge in the Superdome's reopening. Early reports indicate that as news of the victory spread, the excited citizens steadily breached the dome's walls throughout the night, creating a chaotic and devastating environment of celebration.
"This was something all of us needed," said resident Sean Montrell, who joined several thousand fans in overturning trashcans and setting them on fire inside the dome. "Now, maybe Americans will finally pay attention to what is going on here in New Orleans."
"Go Saints!" Montrell added before beating and urinating on the man standing next to him.
Long after the game ended, the jubilant, hungry fans showed no signs of stopping the festivities, finding themselves stealing food and alcohol from stadium venders who were bludgeoned with any metal object that could be extracted from the dome's infrastructure. In addition, fans were too busy rioting to notice that the loss of electricity and the absence of air-conditioning had created oppressive conditions with temperatures easily exceeding 100 degrees.
"When it got dark, that was the most fun," said sweaty, blood-drenched Beatrice Sheehy, who last saw her two children being escorted away by an unknown man she described as "some guy." "I really think the Saints could go all the way this year."
"Go, Reggie Bush!" she added, moments before purchasing heroin from an unidentified man and then shooting it up on the 50-yard line.
Although all participants described the mood as one of joy and relief, conditions in the dome continued to deteriorate as the plumbing broke down and the newly refurbished bathrooms began to completely overflow with fecal matter. The deluge of waste eventually flooded the hallways, leaving a slick film of excrement surrounding the dome. Ecstatic fans later said it did not seem worth trying to go inside one of the bathrooms after the game, opting instead to find a dark corner in which they could void their bowels.
"Looks like a victory party to me!" said longtime Saints fan Julius Childress, who claimed he scaled the rafters to lead a "Go Saints!" cheer, and then passed the long night watching people having sex, both consensual and not, in the third-floor skyboxes. "When I got to the highest part of the dome, that's when I saw a group of happy drunk people chopping and tearing at two new holes in the dome's roof. One guy in an Aaron Brooks jersey screamed 'Go Saints,' just before falling his death."
Added Childress: "The Saints have definitely given this city its soul back."
Mayor Ray Nagin took the opportunity to congratulate the Saints football team, the citizens of New Orleans, and the many officials who oversaw the $185 million effort to restore the Superdome in time for last Monday's game.
"This is a symbol of our cultural pride and heritage," said Nagin, speaking from the newly dilapidated Superdome with throngs of dirty, hungry, disease-ridden Saints fans, some holding babies, standing in line for Red Cross aid packages behind him. "With the Saints back here where they belong, things are finally starting to return to normal in New Orleans."