Like most New Orleanians, I know who Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee were and that there are parkways, boulevards and circles named for them.
Also, like most New Orleanians, I haven't a clue who or what a Chef Menteur was or why a roadway was named for him or her or them or it. I know that there is a lake along Lakeshore Drive and a convention center on the like named boulevard in downtown New Orleans and that there is, in fact, a park along City Park Avenue.
As in most cities, we name streets and boulevards and drives for either the obvious landmark or for a hero or citizen deserving of such an honor. Well, to whomever makes those decisions, I think it's high time somebody nominate Tom Benson for just such an honor.
I'll admit that at times in the past I didn't always agree with things he said or asked for. But the fact remains, that after all was said and done, the New Orleans Saints are here and thriving. Were it not for "Mr. B", as his friends call him, they'd have relocated to Jacksonville back in the 1980's, long before the now ubiquitous WHO DAT chant and nation were dreamed up. He bought the team and kept it here and who among us isn't glad he did?
In my book, PATRON SAINTS, I wrote about how very much this team meant to our people as they rebuilt after the ravages of Hurricane Katrina. Without the Saints' return, there would have been no punt for Steve Gleason to block in the homecoming game because there would have been no homecoming game. It would have just been a game played in some other lucky city.
The Superdome, without the Saints would not have been rebuilt. Instead of nightly light shows as we have now, a roofless rotting structure would await demolition and implosion alongside an empty battered Old Dominion Tower.
Despite the obvious concerns, Tom Benson brought the Saints back to their home, our home...his home. They are here and aren't going anywhere anytime soon. We have a Lombardi Trophy that no trumped up scandal can tarnish and dollars to beignets, we'll get another pretty soon to boot.
Mr. Benson will be inducted into the Saints Hall of Fame on September 21. That is an excellent move by the media selection committee, which waived the requirement to be retired to be eligible.
Fox 8 is locally owned and flavored and the Hornets will keep their hive in New Orleans for a long time as well. The Benson family owns them both. I don't have the space to list all of the charitable causes supported by the Benson family, but suffice it to say that there are playgrounds and bands and sports teams, patients and parents of patients, and just plain Who Dats who are mighty glad that Mr B. is a product and supporter of The Crescent City.
So, Mayor Landrieu, can't we find a boulevard in our wonderful city that we can rename in honor of a man who has done so much to make and keep New Orleans a major league city? You know, I wish I lived on whatever lucky street soon boasts his name. I have a feeling, if I know anything about Tom Benson, that it will become a championship thoroughfare in no time at all.
Tom Benson Boulevard? It sure does have a nice ring to it doesn't it?
|< Prev||Next >|