Opening day of the NFL season if like Christmas for football fans. But the New Orleans Saints may need to postpone the festivities.
That’s all thanks to Hurricane Ida, which made landing at Port Fourchon, La., late Sunday morning. The town is about 100 miles south of New Orleans. But Ida, a category four storm with 150 mph winds, still had a ton of energy to pound New Orleans.
New Orleans Saint coach Sean Payton provided an update Monday on what may happen for his team’s opener.
“We don’t know relative on Week One in the Superdome,” Payton told reporters. “We’ll have a Plan B. There’s a lot of things from a priority standpoint that are more important to our city. We fully anticipate starting the season with Green Bay and the question is where will (the game) be played at.”
New Orleans Saints Evacuated to Dallas Because of Ida
New Orleans Saints players, coaching staff and administrators evacuated to the Dallas area. The storm first forced the cancellation of Saturday’s final preseason game. Now, the Saints are practicing at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. That’s the home of the Dallas Cowboys. However, the Cowboys practice at their massive facility in nearby Frisco.
The New Orleans Saints were supposed to host Green Bay, Sept. 12. But the stadium and surrounding areas may not have even the most basic services by then. The entire city lost power as Hurricane Ida roared through New Orleans. City officials estimate that the electricity could be out for weeks because of damage to the power grid.
However, the Superdome survived the storm with minimal structural damage. The New Orleans Times Picayune reported that Superdome general manager Zane Collings and his staff assessed the stadium’s damage Monday morning. They found a “little water leak,” Collings said.
Doug Thornton, whose company manages the stadium, also shared good news for New Orleans Saints fans.
“The Dome is fine,” Thornton said. “There’s no major damage that we have found.”
“We’ve got two weeks to work with,” Thornton said. “And we’ll have options with the staff. As long as we can get power and water pressure, we’ll play a football game (on Sept. 12). We’re going to find a way.”
The New Orleans Saints were displaced for the entire 2005 season after Hurricane Katrina walloped the city and caused extensive damage to the Superdome. And the stadium initially was used as an evacuation shelter. Coincidentally, Ida swept through Louisiana on the 16th anniversary of Katrina.
Back in 2005, the New Orleans Saints played four of their home games in Baton Rouge at LSU’s Tiger Stadium. The Saints also used San Antonio’s Alamodome for three games. And the Saints even played a “home” game at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. The New Orleans Saints didn’t play at home again until Sept. 25, 2006.