DEVILLE: Insignificance of football overwhelming

Tragedy. It is hard to find words to describe the mood this Tuesday morning.

We typically produce the weekly editions of Tiger Rag on Sunday afternoon to hit the streets on Tuesday. But due to the events on Sunday evening and Monday morning, we are here Tuesday frantically trying to get this week's edition ready to go.


We work with heavy hearts this day still in shock from the wrath of Hurricane Katrina and the mark she left on southeast Louisiana – mainly New Orleans – the Gulf Coast and the path she carved throughout Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and beyond.


While there are hundreds of thousands without power, including much of Baton Rouge as I can hear the generator rumbling outside as I write this, the destruction caused by Katrina measures much, much more.


New Orleans – as we know it – ceases to exist. Over 80-percent of the city is underwater, some areas up to 20 feet deep and word of water rising this morning threatens to flood the only area spared by Katrina's rage on Monday – the CBD (Central Business District and French Quarter.


The first images of Monday's carnage were transmitted late that evening. Tuesday morning brought radio reports that Coast Guard and Red Cross workers were trying desperately rescue people trapped in attics and along rooftops through the New Orleans area as the water levels continued to rise. It was reported bodies floated in the streets in some parts of the city.


The homepage of showed a grim image of the Louisiana Superdome, its white domed shredded with holes from Katrina's 145 mph winds. The home of several Super Bowls as well as LSU's Sugar Bowl triumph over Oklahoma in 2003, the seemingly indestructible fortress was ravaged much like the rest of the Crescent City.


Below the picture of the battered Superdome read a caption, ‘The Superdome is scheduled to play host to the Saints opener on Sept. 18.' Football is the farthest thing from the minds of Saints fans, which fill the seats of the 70,000 seat structure in the fall. On Monday, those seats weren't filled with ardent fans but rather refugees fearing for their lives, almost 30,000 to be exact.


While those and many other native New Orleanians tried to put the pieces back together on Tuesday, the focus in Baton Rouge was to restore power and try and get back to the daily routine. As of this morning, there was no news of canceling LSU's season opener Saturday with North Texas. LSU associate athletic director Herb Vincent said Tiger Stadium ‘fared well' in Monday morning's storm. The banks of lights on Death Valley's east side burned brightly as early as Monday afternoon as construction crews tried desperately to have the west upper deck habitable for Saturday's season opener.


"It looks like everything came through the storm very well," said senior associate athletic director Dan Radakovich told the Baton Rouge Advocate. "It's in as good a shape as can be expected."


It seems rather ridiculous to focus on the construction of Tiger Stadium's west side with the surrounding destruction in southeast Louisiana, but the work goes on as Saturday's opener approaches.


LSU coach Les Miles said the Tigers practiced on Sunday afternoon and then were released to avoid the storm conditions on Monday. LSU is scheduled to practice again Tuesday afternoon.


It was Miles' first experience with a hurricane having lived in south Louisiana only eight months.


"It was exciting," Miles told The Advocate. "We're without power. So far, so good. We just hope like heck the people in New Orleans and elsewhere aren't too adversely affected by this."


The mood today is one similar to that of the 9/11 attacks on New York in 2001. There is much uncertainty as the cruel frailty of life stares us directly in the face. While life will go on and football will be played, our thoughts and prayers are with those whose lives changed forever on Monday.


Good luck and Godspeed.




Matt Deville is the editor of Tiger Rag Magazine. Reach him by e-mail at

Tiger Blitz Top Stories