Loyola University New Orleans is asking a very simple question to all Saints fans across the Gulf South: “Are you ready for some football???”
To start off the Saints season in fanatical style, the Center for the Study of New Orleans will host, “Fleur Delirious: A Look at the Saints’ Relationship with New Orleans,” on Tuesday, Sept. 7, at 7 p.m., in Roussel Hall. The event will feature a panel discussion on the Saints, their magical season, and what the team means to the culture of New Orleans.
“The Saints’ fabulous Super Bowl season showed just how intimate the relationship is between the Saints and the city of New Orleans,” said center Director Leslie Parr, Ph.D. “Our program will explore the highs and lows of this relationship and give the audience a chance to ask our distinguished panel everything they’ve always wanted to know about their team.”
Panelists will include former Saint and fan favorite Michael “Beerman” Lewis, Times-Picayune sports reporter and author Jeff Duncan, and WWL-TV sports director and voice of the Saints, Jim Henderson.
Duncan’s new book, “From Bags to Riches: How a Struggling Franchise and a Storm-Battered City Became Champions,” chronicles the unique bond between team and fan, as well as the importance of that relationship in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
“A lot of my colleagues throughout the country think that the Saints/New Orleans/Katrina story is one of the greatest, not just of the NFL, but in all of sports,” Duncan said. “But, as good as the story looks on the surface, it goes much deeper.”
“National media thinks that the Saints saved the city, but in reality it’s the other way around,” Duncan continued. “The real heroes aren’t Drew Brees, Sean Payton or Reggie Bush, it’s the fans. They had no reason to support a 3-13 team and owner that was looking to get out, but they did. They told the NFL, ‘You’re not moving this team to San Antonio or L.A. It’s ours.’ They bought season tickets with FEMA checks. They sacrificed basic living expenses to keep this team here. The storm galvanized that bond between franchise and fan, and finally – after 43 years – both received the ultimate reward.”