The Saints return to the Superdome after Hurricane Ida
The New Orleans Saints will play their first game of the season at the Ceasars Superdome on Sunday after Hurricane Ida forced them to relocate temporarily.
The New Orleans Saints will finally have an official home game in the Superdome this Sunday after Hurricane Ida displaced the for the better part of a month.
Ida sent Saints on the road for the last month
Hurricane Ida made landfall in New Orleans in late August on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Ida left nearly a over 900,000 people without power, while millions were forced to evacuate the area, including the entire New Orleans Saints team.
Players, coaches, and staff booked it out of town before the Category 4 Hurricane hit the coast of Louisiana. They set up camp in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area as some players travelled with family, while others went alone.
Staying in a hotel, and being in such close quarters expedited the bonding process for the Saints squad, "Hell of an experience packing up and leaving and being nomads for a little bit," Saints WR Marquez Callaway told NFL.com’s James Palmer. "I think we bonded a lot. Even though a lot of guys were ready to go home, it brought a lot of guys together and it was good."
Not the first time a Hurricane has displaced the Saints
Head coach Sean Payton and the Saints are no strangers to weather conditions altering their schedule to start the season. They were forced to play the entire 2005 season away from home after Katrina devastated New Orleans.
Offseason signing Jamis Winston led the Saints to the Week 1 shocker as the displaced team, who opened their home slate in Jacksonville, crushed the Green Bay Packers 38-3.
Ida was just one of a series of events that the Saints have had to suffer through. In Week 2 eight coaches on the New Orleans staff tested positive for COVID. The Panthers went on to beat the Saints 26-7 that week.
A small portion of the Cesars Superdome caught fire on September 21st, adding to the Saints problems. The fire was put out abruptly, and since then repairs have been made which will allow New Orleans to return to their home stadium this weekend.
"I think if you see anything like a pendulum, you have to think, we got some good stuff coming," said Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins "The fun thing about this team and being around all of this, there hasn't been a lot of conversation about it. Nobody feels like it's something that is impeding our ability to have success. I mean, it's annoying. Guys want to be home and not on the road. But nobody is looking at it like it should change our expectations on Sundays, which is hard to do that in our league. That's what I'm excited about because nobody has flinched. When momentum does swing back to our side and we get that stretch where things are just normal, I'm excited to see how we perform."
The Saints will return to the Super Dome with a packed house 637 days after their last game in front of their fans. Between COVID and Ida, the Saints fans have been kept away from their Sunday sanctuary since the overtime loss to the Minnesota Vikings in January of 2020.
"I know the city is looking forward to us winning," Callaway said. "That's what we try to play for. Demario (Davis) said it in his speech. That the team really needs to take notice now with all this going on and everything that is happening to our city, everyone is still watching us. Looking forward to us brightening their day. They'll have our backs win or lose, even though they want to win. Who doesn't? That's what we play for. We play for each other and we play for this city."
The Saints will play host to the New York Giants Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.