Zeitoun Day: Saints seen as reason to hope post-Katrina

The Newtonite

by Steven Michael

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the New Orleans Saints shone as a ray of hope for the residents of New Orleans, according to Joe Schott, who grew up in Louisiana and still holds Saints season tickets.

Schott spoke as part of the Sports Panel, discussing perspectives about sports after Hurricane Katrina.

History teacher Gregory Drake moderated the discussion. In his opening remarks, Drake joked about how he read Zeitoun looking for references to sports and found none.
Instead, panelists discussed broadly the role of sports in post-Katrina New Orleans and the ability of sports  to bring communities together.
Schott said the decision of the Saints ownership to keep the team in New Orleans signified that the city as a whole could rebuild and residents would return. “The Saints were the only thing to be excited about in the city,” he said.
The signing of quarterback Drew Brees and running back Reggie Bush brought momentum to the team and city, Schott said.

English teacher and head football coach Peter Capodilupo saw parallels between Zeitoun’s determination to rebuild New Orleans and how the football team rebounds after a tough loss.

“If we lose a game, we go back and we build again,” he said. “When you depend on each other, the whole world opens up like sports her at Newton North.”
Northeastern University athletic director Peter Roby described the Saints’ stadium, the Louisiana Superdome as a symbol of New Orleans.
During the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, media coverage of New Orleans told of people suffering from heat and unsanitary conditions inside the Superdome, Roby said.
Now the Superdome is home to the 2010 Super Bowl champions.
“The irony was that hope came from the same building as despair after Katrina,” Roby said. After the most incredible catastrophe in peoples’ lives, the Saints won the Super Bowl. You can’t write it any better than that.”
The Boston Globe sports columnist Dan Shaughnessy said sports are a component of any community from New Orleans to Boston.
“The Red Sox are not just a private team,” he said. “They are a part of the community, accountable to the fans who pay to see the game.”