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The New Orleans Saints have been displaced from their home stadium, the Caesars Superdome, for nearly a month. And now they can finally return home and play in front of their fans again.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has officially told the Saints that they can return home to the Superdome on Sunday, Oct. 3 and play their first true home game of the 2021 season against the New York Giants.
"The Governor welcomes the Saints games back to New Orleans and appreciates the NFL and other teams working to accommodate the team in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida," Christina Stephens, a spokesperson for the governor, told NFL.com. According to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, New Orleans mayor LaToya Cantrell also told the team that the stadium is ready for their return.
The Saints had to evacuate New Orleans on Aug. 27 in advance of Hurricane Ida making landfall in Louisiana. The storm knocked out power to thousands and caused damage around the city, though not on the level of Hurricane Katrina, which actually ripped part of the roof off of the Superdome and displaced the Saints for far longer.
Since then, the Saints have been roving. They spent the last few weeks before the start of the season practicing in various locations in Texas, then played their first "home" game of the season at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville. Their schedule has actually been pretty forgiving as far as home games, though. After their opening "home" game in Jacksonville, Oct. 3 was scheduled to be their next home game.
Superdome roof on fire
In all, the Saints will only miss one home game due to Hurricane Ida. But there was one more development last week that could have caused them to miss more time at home: a fire.
The roof of the Superdome caught fire on Sept. 21, which at the time felt like a bad sign for the Saints returning home anytime soon.
My dad still works in Downtown NO. Apparently the Superdome is now on fire pic.twitter.com/7MijgwaRb7
— Drifted Left (@Johnny_Pawny) September 21, 2021
It certainly didn't look good, but luckily the damage was minimal. According to a statement released by the Louisiana Stadium and Expedition District, a pressure washer that was being used to clean the roof caught fire. The fire was contained to the external gutter system, and the damage wasn't severe enough to delay the return of the Saints on Oct. 3.