A year ago, New Orleans Saints fans wondered whether the Superdome would ever reopen and whether the team would ever come home from Texas, which was lobbying to keep it. The thought of opening the season 3-0 with a dominating home victory against the hated Falcons on Monday Night Football was simply unfathomable.

Yet there we were, sharing a magical night on an international stage. It was one in which New Orleanians of all colors and backgrounds truly came together, really for the first time since the storm. (For a somewhat different view, take a look at Rush Limbaugh’s ridiculous rant about how the whole event, or at least the ESPN coverage of it, was “pure liberal politics, disguised as social compassion” intended to embarass the Bush Administration. Really.)

For those who missed it and the scenes around town before the game, think Mardi Gras, but substitute black for purple and green. Grade schools had Black and Gold pep rallies, businesses shut down early, and Rebirth, the Goo Goo Dolls, Green Day, U2 gave incredible pre-game performances.

At the game, Steve Gleason’s BREAKTHROUGH block of the Falcon punt on the opening drive will go down in history with “Hakim Dropped the Ball” and Tom Dempsey’s 60-yard field goal as one of the greatest plays in Saints history. Below are some of the sights and sounds of Miracle Monday.