Jan 05, 2007
A column by Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco
For the Black and Gold State, the fairytale season just keeps getting better! Our Cinderella team is second lining its way to the second round of the playoffs, and Louisiana couldn't be more proud.
One year after a Katrina-Rita detour to San Antonio, our New Orleans Louisiana Saints are back home where they belong. Their newfound attitude and winning ways remind all of us that when we are determined, nothing can stop us.
In a way, the story of this surreal season reflects Louisiana's story. Like many of our families, the team was left without a home following the storms. The 2005 season found them playing in different cities, moving from place to place - not much seemed to be going right.
Yet behind the scenes, the hard work of many began to come together to produce big results. And who would have figured just a year later, our Saints would be poised for the playoffs?
The year 2006 brought Coach Payton, a hardworking team and a determined attitude. Part of that comes from the Saints' new home, the reopened, renovated, and renewed New Orleans Superdome.
Just months after the storms, I issued an Executive Order, fast-tracking repairs to the Superdome with a goal of welcoming the Saints on September 25. Thanks to the hard work of Louisianans and help from recovery funds and our friends at the NFL, the project was completed on time and on budget. I was determined to see that building, that symbol of everything that went wrong during Katrina become a symbol of everything that's going right with recovery.
And what a symbol our Dome and our team have become. From the moment the doors opened to cheers of football fans, the Saints gave us all a reason to keep the faith. On the field, they stomped opponents to rack up a 10-6 division championship season. Off the field, players and coaches poured time and energy into the community, recognizing the unique and special place they hold in our hearts.
At the conclusion of the Saints' final regular season game I issued official statements thanking each player and coach on behalf of all Louisianans.
They give us their all, they give us pride, and they give us hope.
Like the stickers on Saints fans' bumpers proclaim: winning is an attitude. Thanks to the winning attitude of so many of you, we are rebuilding Louisiana one house, one business, and one team at a time.