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TallySaint 09-01-2005 07:53 AM

Baton Rouge, LSU May Open Doors to Saints (USAToday)
Baton Rouge, LSU may open doors to Saints

By Glenn Guilbeau, Gannett News Service, USA Today

BATON ROUGE — LSU's Tiger Stadium is open for the New Orleans Saints, who may have been rendered homeless for the 2005 NFL season.

The damage to the Superdome's roof may be the least of the Saints' concerns.

The Louisiana Superdome suffered roof damage from Hurricane Katrina on Monday, but more importantly, the hurricane-ravaged city may not be ready to host an NFL game on Sept. 18. The Saints, who are in Oakland for a preseason game Thursday and open the season on Sept. 11 at Carolina, are scheduled to open the home season on Sept. 18 at noon against the New York Giants, whose quarterback is New Orleans native Eli Manning. (Related column: Lopresti says Superdome's past glory stands in stark contrast to Katrina's devastation)

Saints owner Tom Benson is considering other cities for possible relocation as his team's Metairie, La., facility is also in a flood area.

One possible site for future Saints home games is Tiger Stadium.

"If the Saints call, naturally I will consider taking their request to the Board of Supervisors," LSU athletic director Skip Bertman told the Gannett News Service on Tuesday. "Because they're our Saints, too, and we're all in this together. But obviously, I couldn't do anything without board action."

Bertman, who has been critical of the Saints receiving incentive-free money from the state in the $12-to-$18-million range a year to help make ends meet, said as of yet he has not been contacted by the Saints.

LSU postponed its scheduled Saturday season opener against North Texas indefinitely because the campus — located 87 miles northwest of New Orleans — has been designated by the Louisiana Office of Emergency Preparedness as a major emergency evacuation center with its basketball arena and fieldhouse serving as medical triage units.

The LSU Tigers plan to open the season at home on Sept. 10 against Arizona State. LSU has an open date on Sept. 17 so the stadium could be available to host the Saints-Giants game on Sept. 18 that is currently scheduled for the Superdome.

"We'd have to arrange something as far as a rental agreement," Bertman said. "And it would have to work with the LSU football schedule. I'm not sure we could play football on a Saturday night and have it ready for Sunday afternoon."

Story continues...


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