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Carville and Matalin also have taken part in a range of environmental, educational, economic and cultural projects in the area. Matalin is on the board of the Water Institute of the Gulf, which aims to preserve fragile coastal wetlands that have been eroding, leaving south Louisiana ecosystems and communities increasingly vulnerable to destruction. They have supported the Institute of Politics at Loyola University and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra.

Carville teaches a current events class at Tulane University and he looks forward to getting involved in the 200th anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans in 2015 and New Orleans’ tercentennial celebrations in 2018, when the city also hopes to host its next Super Bowl, if the NFL sees fit.

Leading a Super Bowl host committee, the couple said, has similarities to running a major national political campaign, but takes even more work.

“This has been going on for three years and it’s huge,” Matalin said. “It’s bigger, it’s harder, it’s more complex _ even though it’s cheaper.”

The host committee spent about $13 million in private and public funds to put on this Super Bowl, and the payoff could be enormous in terms of providing a momentum boost to the metro area’s growth, Carville said.

“For us _ New Orleans _ I think this is going to be much more than a football game Sunday,” Carville said of the championship matchup between the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers. “We’ll know how we feel about it on Monday. It’s a big event, it helps a lot of people, but I think we have a chance if it goes the way we hope it does, it’ll go beyond economic impact. It’ll go beyond who won the game. I think there’s something significant that’s coming to a point here in the city.”

So there’s a bit of anxiety involved, to go along with the long hours. But Carville and Matalin say they’ve loved having a role in what they see as New Orleans’ renaissance.

“I always say I’m so humbled by everyone’s gratitude,” Matalin said. “We get up every day and say, `Thank you, God. Thank you, God.’ It’s a blessing for us to be able to be here, to live here.”