During an interview on CNN - New Orleans Mayor Latoya Cantrell said the Saints should play their games this season in a totally empty Superdome.
The NFL continues to assess what will be the best course of action during the coronavirus crisis, and the Washington Post is reporting that sources indicate the league is considering empty or partially filled stadiums and a shortened schedule - but no decision has been announced.
Mayor Cantrell appears to be taking advantage of the political spotlight cast upon her since New Orleans is a hotspot for coronavirus cases and deaths - to put her power on display.
The day before Essence Fest officially cancelled and several days before the cancellation of Jazz Fest and French Quarter Fest this fall - the mayor announced that she does not want any events that attract large crowds to happen for the remainder of 2020.
Speculation that Jazz Fest would be cancelled was soundly based on the logistical nightmare presented by the rescheduling of the fest. Predicting that Jazz Fest would not happen in this fall was based on common sense. The same can be said for French Quarter Fest. And did Essence Fest cancel the day after the mayor made her announcement - or could plans have been in the works for cancellation due to the difficulty of scheduling artists and events?
Now Mayor Cantrell is saying that she wants the Saints to play to an empty Superdome. I doubt the NFL will allow her desire to have any impact on the decisions the league is currently working on.
Shortly after New Orleans became a COVID-19 hotspot - the mayor appeared on CNN and seemed to indicate that if the Trump administration would have given the city more information she would have cancelled Mardi Gras. Most revealing was the way Mayor Cantrell said with a smile that she would be the leader to cancel Mardi Gras. It was that moment that gave a hint that the Mayor may be using opportunities in the spotlight to prove how powerful she is.
We all know that mayors have power - but the sense that Cantrell is showing off her power to the city and the nation is unsettling. We need the truth - but to eagerly precede official announcements about events - like the upcoming Saints season - robs the citizens of this city of the optimism that is needed to emotionally survive this unprecedented crisis.
Rather than predict doom and gloom and link the prediction to power - shouldn’t our leaders wait until official decisions are made? Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said that at this point he can envision at least a partially filled stadium for Saints and LSU games. That may not happen - but until decisions are made - an optimistic tone is vital to the psyche of our city and state.