The New Orleans Saints were evacuated by Hurricane Ida and returned to work Monday approximately 500 miles away at the home of another NFL franchise.
Saints staff and players, as well as about 120 family members, moved to North Texas ahead of the hurricane that struck south of New Orleans on Sunday. It was a strong Category 4 hurricane with winds up to 150 mph and left much of the area without power.
Sean Payton, the coach, said that the team will practice at AT&T Stadium through Wednesday. This stadium is home to the Dallas Cowboys. This comes before the team takes a break to prepare for the regular season.
“Left behind” are clearly apartments, condos, and homes. These are all physical objects. Payton stated Monday that they are still home for many people. “We had a meeting with the team this morning and touched on some subjects. You know, I believe that practicing today and going out to the gym is good for everyone. Because from afar there’s only so much one can do.
The Saints will then resume practice on Monday. However, Payton stated that it was unrealistic to assume that they would be at their headquarters, Metairie, Louisiana. Despite initial reports that the facility had handled the storm “overall pretty good.”
Payton stated that he hadn’t heard anything about the September 12 home opener against the Green Bay Packers, which will be played at the Superdome.
“Obviously, we’ll have plan B. Payton stated that there are many other items that, from a priority standpoint, are more important to our city. “But, that being said, we fully anticipate the regular season starting with Green Bay, and then it would be a question of where that game is.”
The Louisiana Governor’s Office. John Bel Edwards described the damage to the region’s power grid as “catastrophic” and officials warned that it could take weeks before full power restoration is possible.
Ida was traveling to the Gulf of Mexico, and had a path towards the Gulf Coast region. The Saints’ final pregame game was cancelled.
They played just two preseason games and were forced to move for final practices. The final roster reduction of 53 players must be done on Tuesday.
The arrival of Ida came 16 years to the day after Katrina devastated New Orleans. For the 2005 season, the Saints had to relocate. They set up operations in San Antonio and played home games in Baton Rouge at LSU. New Orleans also played a Giants Stadium “home” match.
This was before Payton’s current regime joined the franchise. The Saints were 3-13 in 2005. But, thanks to the rapid restoration of the Louisiana Superdome they went 10-6 and won NFC South the following year.
The Saints fled to Cincinnati in 2012 when Hurricane Isaac approached New Orleans with winds of around 80 mph and forced them to flee.
“We were there for two days and returned. Cam Jordan, a sixth-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman and second-year Saints player, said that the area was not affected. He is still with Saints.
“Now, it’s more damage than in 2012 and we wake up every morning to see it. I have friends, connections, and a New Orleans family. We’re now catching the effects, but it’s totally different from 2012 to now.
Jordan saw photos of his house and decided that it would need immediate attention. He also suggested a new roof.
“My family is my greatest treasure.” He said that they came with us to Dallas. “As long they’re okay, for me whatever happened to my house or our property in New Orleans is just materialistic.”