Thousands of homes were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. One house that was left standing, fractured, but still standing, was not the kind of home that you and I live in, but the kind of home in which 55 men play a children’s game and 72,003 people come and watch them.
However, on August 29, 2005, and for days after, that is not what the Louisiana Superdome was being used for. During this period of time this house gave shelter to 20,000 people who had lost their own.
I can only imagine what it would have been like to be there and to hear the crying babies and screaming people and to smell the waste and the water all the time.
How did they have the will to live in that hollow place that they called home, knowing that, if their family was not with them, that they were most likely lost dead, or severely injured. But still they pushed on and found a way to survive.
The New Orleans Saints returned to the Superdome, their home, on September 26, 2006, more than a year and 180 million dollars after the storm hit. Then, finally, the joyous time came for The Saints to come marching home.
Even now, one year later, I can still taste the gumbo and still feel the anxiety and hope lingering from the storm. Fans everywhere are holding signs that say, "We Believe", or, "Go Saints", then, at that moment, right before kickoff, something special happened, everyone who was watching that game smiled, at the exact same time. Even the thousands of people that were affected, who had little to smile about until now, beamed.
The Saints coming back home is not about a team, it is about giving all of North America hope.