Saints’ Return to Dome Symbolizes Katrina Recovery
The rebuilding in New Orleans has been a slow process, but a major spark for the city has come from the Saints. The iconic ‘Who Dat’ chant from 70,000 fans echoed in the Superdome on the night of September 26th, 2006 the day that marked the return of the city’s beloved Saints, who had not played a home game in over a year. Mike Anderson, a Saints fan, says, "When they came back for that game with Atlanta, it brought a tear to my eye. I had evacuated. I had damage to my home and it was incredible they were like the life blood that brought us back together. It was amazing."
Anderson is just one of many who lived through the destruction and terror that Katrina brought to the Gulf Coast. Fans say when the Saints returned to the Superdome, it symbolized the resurrection of New Orleans. Bruce Redler, another Saints fan, says, "The Saints are what bringing this city back. After the storm, we needed a little pick me up and the Saints came back so strong now and we back to full strength."
The strength and resilience the city displayed has translated into one of the most loyal fan bases in the National Football League. Players who were on the team for the return to the Superdome say the game and entire season was awe inspiring. Offensive Guard Jahri Evans says, "It was electric. It was amazing to get that win here with Atlanta, a lot of memories, and it was just awesome for the city that whole season."
Many believe that season not only turned around a losing franchise, but also help pick up a dying city.