Everyone remembers that 10 years ago today, Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc and devastation in New Orleans and along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. But you have to be over the age of 45 to even have a chance of remembering the days the New Orleans Saints played football at 80,000 seat Tulane Stadium.
On a gorgeous Friday night, the two came together for the first time in a most unusual way. Wednesday morning, Saints head coach Sean Payton and GM Mickey Loomis decided that holding their last 'open to the public' training camp practice at Tulane's new Yulman Stadium would be a great opportunity for the fans to root on their favorite team...as well as a place to remember the worst natural (and man-made) disaster in our country's history.
Under the setting of a brilliant moon, and unusually comfortable late-August temperatures, Drew Brees and company did not disappoint their fans. After two hours of practice, nearly the entire roster of players made themselves available for autographs and celebration.
The 5,000+ fans who jammed into the press box side of Yulman Stadium had their first opportunity in 40 years to see the Who Dats come back to the Uptown campus where it all began. From 1967 to 1974, the expansion Saints played in Tulane's old Sugar Bowl Stadium before moving to the Superdome a year later. Besides the decades of Sugar Bowls, the historic old stadium managed to squeeze in 3 different Super Bowl's in a 5-year stretch including Super Bowl IX (Steelers-Vikings), the last game ever played there in January of '75.
Although not nearly as large as its predecessor, Yulman's 30,000 seat stadium gives it a wonderful cozy feeling that can't be matched by other campus monoliths. In addition to the wonderful nostalgic feel to the night, the fans also took advantage of the chance to mingle with their favorite players for one last time. Practices will be closed to the public from here on out until next year's mini-camp in June. Now let's bring on the 2015 season!