MIAMI GARDENS, FLA. - Sunday started in New Orleans with the Rev. Monsignor Crosby W. Kern celebrating Mass with a Drew Brees jersey underneath his vestments.
It ended in Miami Gardens with Brees standing atop a gridiron altar to accept the Pete Rozelle Trophy as the MVP of Super Bowl XLIV after his near flawless performance led the New Orleans Saints to their first world championship.
They elected a new mayor in New Orleans on Saturday.
They will crown a new king of Carnival next week.
But New Orleans is and forever will be Brees' town. He'll never buy another drink, never purchase another meal and never pay another parking ticket.
It's his faubourg. We're just living in it.
The Saints quarterback etched his place in city legend alongside Bienville, Iberville and Armstrong with one of the great passing performances in Super Bowl history.
His 32-of-39, 288-yard, two-touchdown masterpiece vanquished the Colts and four-time league MVP Peyton Manning, who heretofore was known as New Orleans' favorite son.
It also successfully completed what Brees called "a calling" when he signed with the franchise as an unrestricted free agent four years ago only months after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city and region.
"This is incredible, " Brees said. "I mean, are you kidding, are you kidding me? Four years ago, whoever thought this would be happening? It's unbelievable."
Unbelievable would be an accurate way to describe Brees' performance in the final three quarters against the Colts.
The man who set the NFL record for accuracy this season was an uncharacteristic 3-of-7 for 27 yards in the first quarter.
The rest of the way, he completed 29 of 32 passes for 261 yards, two touchdowns and an extra point. Two of his incompletions were a spike to stop the clock and a dropped ball by Reggie Bush in the third quarter.
Brees saved his best for last. With the game on the line, he engineered a drive that will be remembered by Saints fans for all eternity. With the Saints trailing 17-16 with 10 minutes to play, he completed all seven of his passes for 40 yards in a nine-play, 59-yard scoring march that put the Saints ahead for the second time all night. Each completion went to a different receiver.
They were, in order, as follows:
Pierre Thomas for 5 yards.
Devery Henderson for 6.
Reggie Bush for 8.
Marques Colston for 8.
Robert Meachem for 6.
David Thomas for 9.
Jeremy Shockey for the final 2 and the go-ahead touchdown.
Then for good measure, Brees hit Lance Moore for the two-point conversion.
Eight passes, eight receivers. None of the completions traveled more than 9 yards.
How's that for finishing strong?
"He was spectacular, " Shockey said.
"His performance was awesome, " Saint guard Jahri Evans said. "He's been awesome all year, and today he showed it."
Brees' heroics fueled a nearly perfect final three quarters of football from the Saints, who spotted the Colts a 10-0 lead, then stormed from behind as they had all season. His 32 completions tied the Super Bowl record set by Tom Brady of the New England Patriots against the Carolina Panthers in 2004.
On the same field where he directed one of the greatest comebacks in club history against the Miami Dolphins three months earlier, he guided the Saints to scores on five of their six series in the final three quarters. They were a failed goal-line play away from going six-for-six.
"He just led, " Saints receiver Colston said. "I'm just so proud of that guy and just so happy to be just associated with greatness in that way."
The signature victory completed an impressive postseason hat trick for Brees. In consecutive games, he outdueled a trio of future Hall of Fame quarterbacks: Kurt Warner, Brett Favre, and, finally, Manning.
His numbers in those three contests were staggering: 72 completions in 102 passes for 732 yards, eight touchdowns and zero interceptions. His passer efficiency rating was 117.0.
"Brees was magnificent tonight, " Saints Coach Sean Payton said. "He played so well, so efficiently. He was fantastic. He was fantastic all year. He's just a winner. Everywhere he's been, he's won it. And now he's won it for us."
Payton might as well have spoken for all of the Saints nation with those words.
Maybe those "Breesus" shirts weren't so blasphemous after all.