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Arnold D. Fielkow speaks

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Team players Our economy, and our hearts, need the Saints Arnold D. Fielkow It is with a sense of gratitude and purpose that my family and I return to New Orleans, a city for which we have great love. At ...

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Old 12-16-2005, 06:58 PM   #1
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Arnold D. Fielkow speaks

Team players
Our economy, and our hearts, need the Saints

Arnold D. Fielkow

It is with a sense of gratitude and purpose that my family and I return to New Orleans, a city for which we have great love. At the same time, it's been heartbreaking to see the magnitude of personal loss suffered by so many. Much hard work will certainly be required in rebuilding our wonderfully unique community, but the "new" New Orleans will come back and be a symbol of pride for us and the entire nation. The resilience, character and spirit of New Orleanians -- of all ages, races, cultures and religions -- will help ensure this success and shape the future rebirth of a great American city.

Our community clearly has many important priorities, with flood protection and housing topping the list. Yet, we must also be able to multi-task and, as residents continue to come home, to create a sense of normalcy wherever possible. This is particularly true for our kids as they come back to school and other activities in January and then again this summer.

Toward this end, fans of the New Orleans Saints -- the most loyal and passionate in all of sports -- hope that the Black and Gold will be an integral part of our community both next season and for many decades to come. The NFL, under the able and compassionate leadership of Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, will have to make some critical long-term decisions in the upcoming months. The club's future will be dictated in large part by the speed and efficacy of our recovery efforts. From all accounts, it would seem that the destiny of our home town club lies, at least in part, in our own hands.

In the short term, and especially in 2006, the Saints' presence in greater New Orleans would do wonders for a population that desperately needs positive news. Simply put, our community needs the Saints to come home, to help lead our area's renaissance financially, emotionally and symbolically.

From a financial perspective, the Saints' presence translates into significant economic impact, including millions of dollars in sales and property taxes and the recirculation locally of nearly $100 million in payroll. This much needed cash infusion benefits a vast array of local businesses -- our dry cleaners, restaurants, barbers and others trying on a daily basis to get back on their feet.

Even more important, the presence of Saints players, coaches and staff symbolically affirms that it is indeed OK for people and businesses to come home. What a great statement it would be for Deuce McAllister, Joe Horn and our other local heroes to resume their regular visits to local schools reassuring the kids that things will be all right.

Imagine the players and coaches helping our local nonprofits raise money for much-needed rebuilding programs. Perhaps some Saints mini-camp and training camp practices, and even the preseason games, could be held in other cities in the Gulf South, demonstrating now more than ever that the Saints are truly a regional team. Finally, once the 2006 season rolls around, what a tremendous in-game tribute it would be to honor ordinary people who give time, energy and money to ensure that the new New Orleans is something in which all of us can take great pride.

Clearly, today's New Orleans is much different than when the team left it on Aug. 28. But New Orleans will be back, and parts of our area, including Jefferson and St. Charles parishes, where most of the Saints organization resides, are up and running.

The Metairie training facility is ready; players' doctor's offices, clinics and hospitals are open, and even the players' hotel is operating. Everything may not be perfect, but it is certainly better than the nomadic existence in San Antonio that so many players and staff have complained about.

The New Orleans Saints have been part of the heart and soul of our community for 38 years. More than ever before, New Orleans needs its home team to take the lead and demonstrate to its fan base, and also to a watching nation, that we will succeed. It is time for the Saints to truly be "saints" and do the right thing for our community.


\"Americans play to win at all times. I wouldn\'t give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed.\" - George S. Patton
On another note, I\'ll take a bite of that crow 08. - Saintfan
Brooks is a moron!! - Halo
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