Fletcher Mackel’s green suit returns in grand fashion

February 25, 2015 (More videos below)

Here are a few #GreenSuit tweets from last night:

In case you missed the other green suit appearances over the years, here they are in all their glory.

March 2014:

The debut in 2012:

 

Letter from Saints owner Tom Benson to season ticket holders

IMG_3677Saints owner Tom Benson concluded a page-long letter to season ticket holders with his personal thanks for the love and support fans have shown he and his wife Gayle during the last few “difficult weeks.”

“Please know that the future success, continuity and stability of the New Orleans Saints and our Pelicans will always be our first priority and I can assure you I have never been more eager to pursue another championship for you and our great fans across the Gulf South and the world.”

– Tom Benson

Benson also announced there would be no increase in ticket prices this season.

Click HERE to read the full letter.

Fat Tuesday on WDSU

ccIt’s a big day on WDSU. Our extensive Carnival Central coverage is on the air and continues through 3 p.m.

We’re live at locations across the New Orleans Metro area, including the corner of St. Charles Avenue and Poydras Street. That’s where Camille Whitworth, Arthur Hardy and I will be stationed for the duration.

To get yourself ready for Fat Tuesday, download the WDSU parade tracker app. Don’t leave home without it.

Happy Mardi Gras!

Five years ago today, the Saints were crowned Super Bowl champions

At the end of Super Bowl XLIV, as the clock ticked down to zero, WDSU sports anchor Fletcher Mackel, photographer Alvin Moore and I charged the field to interview players and I kept the iPhone rolling the whole time.

The video is unedited and runs six minutes and 30 seconds. It captures the emotion, excitement and enormity of the moment. And don’t miss the kiss planted on Reggie Bush by his then-girlfriend, Kim Kardashian.

Flashback: Saints hired Jim Haslett 15 years ago today

Jim HaslettJim Haslett, who led the Saints through the disastrous 3-13 Katrina season in 2005, was hired on this day in 2000.

In his first season at the helm, Haslett led the Saints to a 10-6 record and the team’s first-ever playoff win. Haslett was named NFL Coach of the Year.

The former Saints defensive coordinator (1996) was fired at the conclusion of the 2005 season after compiling a 45-51 record. Haslett is currently the defensive coordinator of the Washington Redskins.

Video: Behind the Scenes at WDSU on Super Bowl Sunday

Half marathon recap

IMG_3727I was hoping to beat my personal best of 2:08 at the Rock n Roll half marathon yesterday.

That didn’t happen. And it really wasn’t close.

The first hour was great and I was on pace to beat 2:08. Unfortunately you have to run two hours.

I rolled in at 2:15 after running into trouble during miles 10-13. My hamstrings tightened up a little bit and I think my sickness-induced two-week layoff prior to the race contributed to that. Oh well.

The weather was gorgeous and the crowd along the race course was fantastic. That was my fifth half marathon and my times vary, but I’m pretty consistent: 2:12, 2:08, 2:28, 2:13 and 2:15. The 2:28 was the Jazz Half debacle last October during which much of the field wilted in the heat and humidity. I like to toss that one out.

My family was a great cheering section at the end. That made it all worth it.

Until next time…

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Screen Shot 2015-01-25 at 10.56.53 PM

Half marathon time

I’m heading out to run my fourth Rock n Roll Half Marathon and the weather is perfect. I’m hoping to beat my personal best of 2:08, but since I’ve been sick and coughing for the better part of two weeks, I’m not sure it’ll happen. We’ll see. A long running layoff before the race may become a new strategy!

My four previous half marathons look like this: 2:12, 2:08, 2:28 and 2:13. The 2:28 was the Jazz Half debacle a couple of years ago during which much of the field wilted in the heat and humidity. Like the lowest test score in school, I throw that one out.

I’ll check back in later.

Statement from Tom Benson on ownership transfer of Saints and Pelicans

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS OWNER TOM BENSON RESTRUCTURES OWNERSHIP TRANSFER AND CONTROL OF THE NEW ORLEANS SAINTS AND NEW ORLEANS PELICANS TO HIS WIFE GAYLE BENSON

For Immediate Release: January 22, 2015

New Orleans Saints Owner Tom Benson has restructured the ownership transfer and control of the Saints and the New Orleans Pelicans. The transfer of ownership will not occur until the time of Mr. Benson’s death. At that time, Gayle Benson will assume control of the New Orleans Saints and New Orleans Pelicans, in addition to other Benson properties.

“This is something I have thought about and prayed about for a while now,” said Benson. “Over the past 60 years, I have been fortunate enough to build a number of successful businesses not only in New Orleans but also in San Antonio. Throughout those years, I have included my family as well as a strong management team around me to run these businesses, whether they be banks, automobile dealerships, television stations or professional sports franchises. I want to continue this model of proven success. This is about the legacy of these two teams and everything we have done for the good of the city of New Orleans and our region –my primary goal is to give the organization the foundation to live on after me for many, many years.”

Benson added, “I agree that this is somewhat of a change in what has been formally declared but this is best for our teams and our community.”

The New Orleans Saints and New Orleans Pelicans will remain under the same management structure, with Gayle Benson serving as Owner that has seen both teams prosper and grow. The management structure of having a small team of senior managers oversee both the Saints and Pelicans will remain in place. The executive level management will continue to be led by Dennis Lauscha (President) and Mickey Loomis (Executive Vice President/General Manager). The senior level management team will remain in place with Greg Bensel (Senior Vice President of Communications/Broadcasting), Jean-Paul Dardenne (Senior Vice President of Corporate Partnerships), Ben Hales (Senior Vice President of Marketing & Business Development), Ed Lang (Senior Vice President/CFO), Vicky Neumeyer (Senior Vice President/General Counsel) and Mike Stanfield (Senior Vice President of Sales).

“Continuity is very important and this plan ensures that,” said Benson. “We have had the same management team in place that oversees both teams for a number of years. It has proven to be successful and it works. Dennis and Mickey will continue to run the operations as they have done day-to-day for the last ten years or so. They consult with me daily, but they will continue to have the same authority they have always had with making decisions, large and small and this will continue even when Gayle becomes owner. This is a good structure…the only difference is that my wife Gayle, will be in control of the Saints and Pelicans when I die, which I can assure you will not be anytime soon.”

Mr. Benson will continue to represent the Saints and Pelicans at the various league and owners’ meetings. And as has been the practice for many years, joining him will be Lauscha and Loomis, as well as Gayle Benson.

“While I have slowed down a bit due to this bad knee, I am still very actively involved in every aspect of my businesses and take part daily in decisions that affect all of my businesses,” said Benson. “I enjoy it, I truly do. I love being in the office and being around the coaches and players and staff and being a part of what they are doing. I have just come to a point in my life where I need to make some tough decisions on how things are going to be planned out. My wife, Gayle, is very important to me. She is born in New Orleans. She has been a businesswoman in this city for many years and is actively involved in many charitable organizations, the Catholic Church, hospitals, schools and university boards, to name a few…I am very proud of her. She is the most logical and natural person closest to me that will ensure the continuity, the stability and the success of our Saints and Pelicans in the city of New Orleans for a long time. The future is bright and secure for both teams here in New Orleans. Plus, she will be surrounded by the best management team in sports in my opinion, just like I have been, who are committed to this community and committed to winning championships.”

“Finally, when family members are involved, decision are always tougher,” said Benson. “My family, as they have been their whole lives, will be very well taken care of, however, this is about making the correct decision as it pertains specifically to the future of the Saints and Pelicans and their long-term success in the city of New Orleans, where they belong.”

The NFL and NBA has been informed of the succession plans set forth by Benson.

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Flashback: Sean Payton era began nine years ago today

Photo courtesy: NewOrleansSaints.com

On January 18, 2006, Saints owner Tom Benson made a hire that would change the direction of his franchise. Dallas Cowboys assistant head coach Sean Payton beat out the likes of Jets defensive coordinator Donnie Henderson, Browns offensive coordinator Maurice Carthon, former Packers head coach Mike Sherman and former Rams head coach Mike Martz.

The Green Bay Packers almost got Payton first, but went with Mike McCarthy instead.

It’s pretty clear Benson made the right call.

Payton wasted no time changing the Saints’ fortunes. Coming off a 3-13 Katrina-marred season, Payton led the team to a 10-6 record and an appearance in the NFC Championship against the Chicago Bears. Three years later the Saints won Super Bowl XLIV.

As the team’s 14th head coach, Payton has compiled an 80-48 regular season record and a 6-4 mark in the playoffs.

Here is the front page of the Times-Picayune the day after Payton was hired.

Video: Questions During Commercial Breaks, pt. 10

Flashback: Mike Ditka fired by the Saints 15 years ago today

29COV_S.fpIt was a disastrous hire from the beginning.

Mike Ditka, who was 60-years-old when the Saints fired him on January 5, 2000, had a 15-33 record in his three years with the team. General manager Bill Kuharich was also fired in the housecleaning by Saints owner Tom Benson.

In a statement, Benson said, “It became necessary to clear the slate.”

Indeed.

Here’s a story from the day Ditka got the pink slip.

Christmas tree pickup in unincorporated Jefferson Parish and Kenner begins this week

MEDIA RELEASE

Christmas trees will be collected curbside throughout unincorporated Jefferson Parish, Gretna, Harahan, Lafitte and Westwego on January 8, 9, and 10, 2015.

In Kenner, trees will be collected on January 7, 8 and 9, 2015. Garbage trucks will make one pass through each neighborhood to collect trees.

Residents of unincorporated Jefferson Parish, Lafitte, Gretna, Harahan, and Westwego are advised to place trees curbside on the evening of Wednesday, January 7th. Garbage trucks will make one pass through each neighborhood to collect trees on January 8, 9, and 10, 2015.

Kenner residents are advised to place trees curbside on the evening of Tuesday, January 6th, 2015. In Kenner, garbage trucks will make one pass through each neighborhood to collect trees on January 7, 8 and 9, 2015.

Trees will be recycled for beneficial re-use – some will be used for marsh restoration and some will be composted. Only clean, unpainted and non-flocked trees are acceptable for re-use. Prior to placing trees curbside, residents must remove all lights, tinsel, garland, ornaments, tree stands and plastic bags from their Christmas trees. Artificial, flocked or painted trees are not eligible for the program. This year’s project involves two (2) phases. Some of the trees will be placed in the marsh, refurbishing previously constructed shoreline fences in Goose Bayou near Lafitte to help protect and restore coastal wetlands; and others will be brought to Wood Materials, LLC to be chipped and used for composting.

Although the Louisiana Office of Coastal Management has discontinued funding Christmas tree marsh restoration projects throughout the state, we are able to continue this popular project thanks to a generous donation of $25,000 from DynoNobel and thanks to the cooperative effort of Wood Materials, LLC.

Volunteers are needed, especially those with shallow draft boats, to move trees from a Lafitte staging area to the pre-constructed shoreline fences in Goose Bayou. Volunteers will meet at 8:00 a.m. at Cochiara’s Marina, 4477 Jean Lafitte Boulevard in Lafitte and move trees to the pre-constructed shoreline fences in Goose Bayou, near the Town of Jean Lafitte on Saturday, January 10 and January 17, 2015. If volunteer turnout allows completion of the project on January 10th, a Press Release will announce cancellation of the January 17th event. If inclement weather leads to the cancellation and rescheduling of these events, please call (504) 731-4612 for information. Volunteers must be at least 18 years of age and are advised to wear layered clothing including long pants, long sleeved shirt, and closed-toe, hard sole, sturdy shoes. Hats and sunscreen are recommended. Gloves, safety glasses, life vests, lunch and refreshments will be provided.

For more information or to volunteer, contact the Jefferson Parish Department of Environmental Affairs at (504) 731-4612.

Video: Sugar Bowl brings millions, happy tourists to New Orleans

New Year’s Eve fireworks from my backyard

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