Super Bowl 2013: How Did New Orleans Become 'The Big Easy'?

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SUPER BOWL 2013 NEW ORLEANS
original DESCRA pedestrian walks past the Superdome where the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens will play the NFL Super Bowl XLVII football game, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel) | AP

On Feb. 3, 2013, roughly 140 million people are expected to tune in to this year's Super Bowl, with an additional5,200 or so fans lucky (read: wealthy) enough to score the tickets to the actual match in New Orleans at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

With an estimated 280 million eyes glued on New Orleans, HuffPost Canada Travel figured now was the time to take a look at one of Louisiana's most popular cities and ask a question that's on everyone's mind: why is New Orleans called "The Big Easy"? Well, according to Lea Sinclair, the director of communications with New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation, the official answer began as a little rivalry with a fellow American city.

"In the early 60's, New York began referring to its music culture and talking about jazz in "The Big Apple." To counter that, in the late 60's, Betty Guillaud, a New Orleans Times Picayune columnist, began referring to New Orleans as "The Big Easy," where jazz was born. The moniker stuck and began to refer to much more than jazz in New Orleans," Sinclair told HuffPost Canada Travel. But New Orleans isn't the only Super Bowl host city with a nickname. That tradition spans 18 different cities, each with their own nicknames — some that are historic in origin, others that are slightly quirkier.

How These Super Bowl Cities Earned Their Nicknames. Story continues below with slideshow test for mobile viewers.

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Nowadays, "The Big Easy" has less to do with jazz music and more about the lifestyle the city evokes, adds Sinclair.

"Today, it's a reference to describe the easy, hospitable, slower life in the Deep South city of New Orleans. The heat and humidity slow the world down here, which creates an atmosphere of intrigue, mystery, and intensity. Every day brings a sophisticated, 'easy' way of life," she said.

And it's that easy way of life that can be found across the city as it prepares for Sunday's match up against the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers. Tourism in the city has bounced back after two major disasters — Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the 2010 BP oil spill off the Gulf Coast. According to the Associated Press, New Orleans' hospitality industry has boomed, with the number of restaurants currently open surpassing the number that existed before Katrina flooded over 80 per cent of the city.

"The restaurants opened lickety split, as fast as they could," said Tom Fitzmorris, publisher of The New Orleans Menu. "Everybody is doing well. We have very few closings. I don't know anybody who is complaining," Fitzmorris told AP.

Have you visited any of these U.S. cities before? Feel free to share your experience in the comments below.

Los Angeles: The City Of Angels (1973)
The last time this California city played host to the Super Bowl, the year was 1973 and The Miami Dolphins and Washington Redskins went head-to-head for NFL supremacy. Los Angeles earned its angelic nickname from its literal meaning in Spanish: The City Of Angels.

Minneapolis: City Of Lakes (1992)
In 1992, the Washington Redskins were facing off against the Buffalo Bills at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The city's nickname dates back to its Native American origins, with "Minne" translating to water and "polis" meaning "city" in Greek, according to Explore Minnesota.

Pasadena: The Crown City (1993)
A year later, the Super Bowl would make its way back to the West Coast. There, the Buffalo Bills returned to the finals to battle the Dallas Cowboys. Pasadena, also known as the Crown City, has similar nickname roots to that of Minneapolis: Pasadena is derived from the Ojibwa (Chipperwa) word for "of the valley", with the town being considered the "crown."

Atlanta: The Gate City (2000)
Back in 2000, the Super Bowl made its way to Atlanta, Georgia where the Baltimore Ravens and New York Giants faced off. Unlike Pasadena, Atlanta is home to a number of nicknames, like "The ATL", "The A" and "Hotlanta." Historically, the city has been known as "Gate City", referring to its past as a major railway hub.

San Diego: America's Finest City (2003)
Contrary to whatever Ron Burgundy says, San Diego is not German for "a whale's vagina." Rather, the city prefers the nickname of "America's Finest City" for its fair, year-round weather, according to the University of San Diego. And let's not forget that it was in "America's Finest City" that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers triumphed over the Oakland Raiders at Super Bowl XXXVVII.

Houston: Space City (2004)
In 2004, the Super Bowl moved south to the city of Houston, Texas, where the New England Patriots duked it out with the Carolina Panthers. To many, Houston is also known as "Space City," a nickname that sounds cooler than its origin story actually is. In short, the city earned its nickname in 1967 because it's home to NASA's Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. Fun fact: this was also the same Super Bowl where Janet Jackson suffered that unfortunate nip slip at the hands of Justin Timberlake.

Jacksonville: River City (2005)
Home to the Jacksonville Jaguars, this Floridian city played host to the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles. Jacksonville is also known as River City, the condensed version of the city's 70's slogan, "River City by the Sea", according to the Florida Times Union.

Tampa Bay: the Big Guava (2009)
Not far from Jacksonville lies the city of Tampa Bay, otherwise known as "The Big Guava." Despite sounding like the name of a fearsome leader of an exotic fruit gang, the nickname dates back to the late 1800s. According to the St. Petersburg Times, Gavino Gutierrez was a Spanish food broker who came to Tampa looking for guava forests. His dream was to build a guava factory and inspire an American love for the fruit, but failed due to circumstances out of his control. Still, that didn't stop a local newspaper columnist from commending his efforts and nicknaming Tampa "The Big Guava" in honour of Gutierrez's best intentions. Centuries later, "The Big Guava" would host the 2009 Super Bowl with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Arizona Cardinals vying for a championship title.

Indianapolis: Circle City (2012)
It wasn't long ago that the New York Giants and the New England Patriots squared off in Indianapolis, Indiana, a place sometimes referred to as "Circle City." It's a title that has little to do with the city's hosting duties for the Indy 500, and more about the circular design Alex Ralston, a surveyor, drew up in his plans for the city in 1821. Things became official when the city built the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument in the city's centre, effectively christening Indianapolis "Circle City."

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