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TallySaint 09-01-2005 06:45 AM

Several sites available for Saints
Several sites available for Saints' home games

Web Posted: 09/01/2005 12:00 AM CDT

Tom Orsborn
San Antonio Express-News Staff Writer

An NFL spokesman Wednesday listed San Antonio, Dallas, Houston, Baton Rouge, La., and Tuscaloosa, Ala., as candidates to host the New Orleans Saints' home opener Sept. 18 and possibly the remainder of the beleaguered team's eight-game home schedule this season.

"We are exploring options, and San Antonio is clearly one of them," said Greg Aiello, the NFL's vice president of public relations. "But there are others."

While none of those options, including playing in the Alamodome, seemed ideal, a high-ranking Saints official said the team would prefer "from an emotional standpoint" to play in Louisiana.

"But we don't know if that's possible," said Mickey Loomis, the Saints' executive vice president/general manager.

He may be right. Damage from Hurricane Katrina has created a nightmarish reality for much of the state, especially in New Orleans, where water continues to rise after five breaks in the city's levee system flooded the streets of the Big Easy.

Still, the Saints and the league want the team to play as close to its fan base as possible. Other cities reportedly under consideration include Birmingham, Ala., Hattiesburg, Miss., Shreveport, La., and Orlando, Fla. Even Texas A&M has offered the Saints the use of Kyle Field.

"(Playing in or near Louisiana) is just common sense," Aiello said. "That definitely is one of the working principals in guiding us."

Of the proposed sites, LSU's Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge is the closest. But LSU, 80 miles north of New Orleans, has been a haven for evacuees and rescue personnel working around the clock to save survivors of one of the nation's worst national disasters.

"The scope of this tragedy is becoming more evident as time passes, and LSU's focus is on assisting in the recovery effort of our state," LSU chancellor Sean O'Keefe said earlier this week in announcing the postponement of LSU's season opener with North Texas on Saturday. "LSU is a primary evacuation site and we are not going to conduct any activities that could deter from our mission of assisting in the recovery mission."

O'Keefe's comments notwithstanding, Aiello said the league hasn't given up on the Saints playing the New York Giants at Tiger Stadium on Sept. 18.

"We recognize that there may be complications involving LSU, but nothing has been ruled out one way or another yet," Aiello said.

The Saints will base their operations in San Antonio after ending their exhibition schedule in Oakland tonight and are expected to hold practices at the San Antonio School District Spring Sports Complex for at least a week. The Saints open the season Sept. 11 at Carolina.

Alamodome director Mike Abington said the 65,000-seat building can accommodate the Saints for the Giants game but could face scheduling conflicts later in the season.

"I've continuously communicated to the Saints that we have the ability to host those games if desired," City Councilman Roger O. Flores said Wednesday. "If the people of New Orleans and the ownership want their team to continue to play games relatively close to (Louisiana), we have the ability to do that. We would be happy to offer what we have."

Houston owner Bob McNair has offered the Saints the use of Reliant Stadium, but the Texans are home Sept. 18 against Pittsburgh.

The last time the NFL moved a game on short notice was Oct. 27, 2003, when wildfires in Southern California forced the Chargers and Miami Dolphins to play at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Ariz., rather than San Diego.


TallySaint 09-01-2005 11:28 AM

Sep 1, 11:22 AM EDT

Some 25,000 Louisiana refugees to head to San Antonio

AUSTIN (AP) -- The state of Texas has agreed to take in an additional 25,000 Louisiana refugees from Hurricane Katrina and plans to house them in San Antonio, Gov. Rick Perry's office said Thursday.

Louisiana requested that Texas provide shelter for the evacuees, and Perry has spoken with the mayor and county judge in San Antonio to begin making the plans, said Perry's spokesman, Robert Black.

"We don't know where, we don't know a timetable yet," Black said. More details were expected later Thursday.

The refugees are in addition to the approximately 25,000 that are being moved into the Astrodome in Houston, mostly from the Superdome in New Orleans.


Euphoria 09-01-2005 11:55 AM

You know Texas is bending over backwards to help La. out... if LSU is out I don't have a problem with the Saints playing in Texas.

JOESAM2002 09-01-2005 12:02 PM

Texas has gone above and beyond the call for the displaced people from Louisiana. I,myself, have donated money and offered my home to folks displaced by this catastrophy. The little town where I live has taken in around 300 people, feeding them and providing them places to stay. I can honestly say, I'm glad and proud I moved to Texas right now.

TallySaint 09-01-2005 12:34 PM

Here's another way Texas is contributing...

Texans Care Campaign

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina's catastrophic strikes in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, the Texans, in conjunction with KTRK/ABC-13 and Infinity Broadcasting, are creating the Texans Care Campaign.

The campaign is designed to encourage financial contributions from the fans of the Texans to support the hurricane relief efforts currently underway, especially the housing effort that has been initiated at the Reliant Astrodome.

Texans owner Bob McNair and his wife, Janice, have issued a challenge to Texans fans and they will match all contributions made to the Texans Care Campaign during Thursday’s preseason game versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, up to a total of $1,000,000. The donations will go to the Red Cross. Fans may make pledges by calling toll free (866.GO.TEXANS) or by visiting during Thursday night’s telecast, which kicks off at 6:30 p.m. Central on ABC-13.

In addition, vice chairman Philip Burguières has already pledged $250,000, and Reliant Energy has pledged $500,000.

More details will follow. Our thoughts and prayers continue to go out to our neighbors to the east.

---------------------------------- have a message board if you'd like to stop by and thank them.


TallySaint 09-01-2005 03:15 PM

It appears San Antonio is not using the Alamodome for Katrina folks...

"A 320,000-square-foot industrial building at KellyUSA is being readied for more refugees of Hurricane Katrina today. For some, it could be their home for the next several months, Mayor Phil Hardberger said."


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