In addition to spending the weekend in New Orleans (sunny skies, mid-60s every day) on someone else's dime, the media gets treated wonderfully by the NFL during Super Bowl week. (Even if you're the 5,137th most important reporter out of the 5,200 here.)
Among the free stuff you get just on game day:
A complimentary boxed lunch that includes a turkey sandwich (or ham or pesto chicken if you'd prefer), a bag of potato chips, Grandma's chocolate chip cookies, a bite-sized Snickers, a small container of carrots (that read "Best if eaten by 2/2/13), a chocolate-chip granola bar, an apple, a can of Pepsi (or Diet Pepsi, if you'd like) and a bottle of Aquafina.
There's also a small section behind the auxiliary press box (basically a section of seats that have small tables in front of them) where you can get pulled pork sandwiches.
A game program ($20 value).
By the way, New Orleans is an absolutely wonderful city. Really friendly people. I sat by myself at a restaurant last night around 11 p.m. (I had just finished my stories and hadn't eaten dinner yet.) A couple locals came over and sat down next to me, insisting I shouldn't sit by myself in New Orleans. They talked to me for about 20 minutes. Would this happen in any other city?
I spent about 30 minutes on Bourbon Street Saturday afternoon (you can see a couple videos on Vindy.com) but that's not really my scene. It's got a great energy and it can be a lot of fun, but it's also noisy, creepy and filled with drunks. It kind of reminds me of the Red Light district in Amsterdam, which remains the only place where I was ever offered ecstasy or cocaine. (I declined.)
If you're hoping for crazy party stories, my apologies. My only vice is being an incurable smart aleck. I had one drink all weekend -- a watered-down Hurricane last night. Covering the Super Bowl by yourself, particularly when you arrive Friday night, limits the amount of time you can spend doing vacation-type stuff.
Not a lot of Youngstowners here this weekend, but this is the Valley's kind of city. (Of course, any city with gambling and alcohol is a right up the Valley's alley.)