Saints football is the last thing on the minds of many in New Orleans as Hurricane Ida makes its way through the city, but the aftermath of the storm could disrupt the start of the Saints’ season.
The Saints are scheduled to play the Packers next Sunday, Sept. 12, at the Caesar’s Superdome but damage from the hurricane could leave the organization scrambling to find an alternative location.
Saints head coach Sean Payton was asked about contingency plans for Week 1 during his Zoom call with reporters on Monday, but said there is still too much uncertainty regarding the situation.
“We don’t know relative on Week 1 in the Superdome,” Payton said. “We’ll have a Plan B. There’s a lot of things from a priority standpoint that are more important to our city.”
Payton would not divulge on what that Plan B may be, but he said it was unlikely that the game would be played in Green Bay instead.
Currently, the Saints have evacuated to Dallas where they are conducting practices at AT&T Stadium.
Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones told 105.3 The Fan that the franchise plans to "do everything it can to accommodate" the Saints.
"Sean Payton and Mickey Loomis reached out to us and asked if they could practice here in Dallas. As it turned out, we did have our stadium available, and they were able to secure accommodations, and it's just great that we were able to help them," he said. "It's just a heartbreaking situation what's going on with everybody there in south Louisiana and (everyone else). It's just a very, very difficult situation for anyone living in that area. Our prayers go out to all the families, and certainly, even for the ones who ended up leaving, who are on pins and needles thinking about your home being in harms way. That's a difficult situation. And you pray for the ones who weren't able to get out for whatever reason that they work their way through it, and are able to make their way through this storm.
"We want to do anything and everything we can to help the Saints organization. We obviously have great proximity to their market and want to do anything and everything we can to help them."
Ida, which has been classified as a category 4 storm, made landfall exactly 16 years to the date when Hurricane Katrina devastated the city.
Following Katrina, the Saints were forced to set up base in San Antonio and play home games at the Alamodome and at LSU’s Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge. They also played their first home game of the season at Giants Stadium, where New York was the away team.