The Saints were forced to cancel their scheduled practices tuesday 08/05/2003 at the request of the St. Tammany Parish School Board and Mandeville High School. The reason given was that the fields were soggy and the parking lots were holding water. The past two months have been very rainy everywhere in south Louisiana. Surely these officials had some idea of the problems with MHS when this was scheduled. The strange part about the abrupt cancellation is that it has not rained the past two days. However, the feilds are no doubt wet. Did it not rain in Destrehan or Lafayette? The parking for a high school football game at MHS is difficult with normal conditions as many are forced to line the entrance and exit roads making it almost impossible to pass through. Parking would have been a nightmare as there would have been more in attendance for these practices than will ever attend otherwise. This was not thought out well in advance to begin with. Why cancel though? Why not consider moving to another northshore location? Fontainbleau High School in Mandeville would have been a better choice anyway. Covington High School, Slidell High School or Northshore High School probably could have accomodated the team. Ponchatoula High School though in another parish yet only a few miles west could have worked. Strawberry Stadium, home to Southeastern University in Hammond could have been contacted. St. Pauls, though a private catholic school in downtown Covington, could have been as well. ( A side note: St. Pauls once housed the team during training camp years ago with John Gilliam, Doug Atkins, Flea Roberts and company sweating it out on the same feilds )
I feel like the northshore community was let down by poor planning and a quick decission to cancel instead of finding an alternative. The economic impact for these small towns would have been beneficial to them also. The worst part about it is that several hundred youngsters that would have gotten a chance to experience this may not ever get that opportunity again. Maybe they will some day, but it is also possible that they will no longer be youngsters. Hopefully the Saints will be willing to spend a day on the northshore next year and for years to come. Some local fans have seen the team practice in Thibodaux the past few years, this year on Airline hwy. at team headquarters, or years ago in Hammond. Not many can say they did when the team was in Lacrosse, Ws. or Vero Beach, Fl. for the many years the team trained outside of Louisiana. There is no guarantee that there will always be an NFL franchise here.
Maybe next year the northshore will be better prepared, the event possibly planned with input from outside the school board, and may mother nature be more kind.
[Edited on 5/8/2003 by SaintNik]
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