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As New Orleans officials assess the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, the Superdome has escaped significant damage from the Category 4 storm that pummeled Louisiana with 150 mph winds and left the city without power Monday morning.
The Saints' plans for practice and their Week 1 home opener against the Green Bay Packers on Sept. 12 remain uncertain.
ASM Global vice president of stadiums Doug Thornton told the New Orleans Times-Picayune on Monday that the management group found no structural damage beyond a "little window leak" during a post-storm walkthrough of the Superdome.
“The Dome is fine,” Thornton said, per the Times-Picayune's Jeff Duncan. “There’s no major damage that we have found.”
Katrina ripped Superdome's roof off
The Superdome suffered severe damage including the loss of its roof during 2005's devastating Hurricane Katrina. The Saints played their entire home slate that season away from New Orleans, splitting games between LSU's Tiger Stadium and the Alamodome in San Antonio. The Superdome became a shelter for Louisiana residents displaced by Katrina.
While the stadium remains intact, it's not yet clear if it will host the Saints-Packers game scheduled for Sept. 12. The Saints evacuated New Orleans for Dallas prior to Ida's landfall. They continued to practice at the Cowboys' AT&T Stadium on Monday and will do so through Wednesday prior to a previously planned four-day break.
Where will Saints play Week 1?
Head coach Sean Payton told reporters on Monday that he doesn't anticipate being able to return to the Saints' Metairie, Louisiana headquarters next week to prepare for Week 1. He also doesn't know where that game will be played.
“Obviously we’ll have a plan B," Payton said, per the Associated Press. "And, you know, there are a lot of other things probably from a priority standpoint that are more important for our city. But that all being said, you know, we fully anticipate starting the regular season with Green Bay, and then the question would be where that game’s at.”
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said on Monday that it could take weeks for power to be completely restored in the state. Thornton told the Times-Picayune that staffing the Superdome with the 3,000 workers necessary to facilitate a home game with a capacity crowd presents a challenge as New Orleans recovers from the storm.
Saints owner makes $1M donation to relief fund
The Saints announced Monday afternoon that team owner Gayle Benson is donating $1 million to the Gulf Coast Renewal fund to aid the recovery effort in Louisiana. It encouraged fans who are able to donate to the fund on its website.