Hurricanes and south Louisiana sports have crossed paths often

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Ed Daniels

Saints games in New Orleans don’t fly under radar, but this one did. On September 1, 2005, the Saints lost their final preseason game at Oakland.

I have zero recollection of it. I’m not alone.

Todd Bouman completed 13 of 20 passes for the Saints for 120 yards in a 13-6 loss to the Raiders.

In the days after Katrina, football was something it seldom is in Louisiana. That is, insignificant.

Sports and Hurricanes have always been intertwined in our city’s history.

In 1974, the final Green Wave game ever played in the old Tulane stadium was on November 30 against Ole Miss.

That game was supposed to be the season opener, but Hurricane Carmen had different ideas.

That opener, for Tulane, was highly anticipated.

One week later, the Green Wave needed a late touchdown drive to subdue an upset-minded bunch from the University of Southwestern Louisiana. The Cajuns got three field goals from Rafael Septien in a 17-16 loss.

Septien would be drafted by the New Orleans Saints in round 10 in 1977. He was cut, a blessing in disguise. He wound up in Dallas, where he led the Cowboys in scoring for nine straight seasons.

Money in the playoffs, Septien made 91 percent of his postseason kicks for Dallas.

In 1974, Tulane won its first five games before dropping their final six when stellar quarterback Steve Foley of Jesuit suffered a broken leg at Georgia Tech.

The Green Wave lost the season finale to Ole Miss on a cold afternoon. The inauspicious ending to 1974 set the wheels in motion for head coach Bennie Ellender’s dismissal one season later. Ellender had signed a 10-year contract after Tulane defeated LSU 14-0 in 1973.

In 1998, a Triple A World Series title by the New Orleans Zephyrs should have been celebrated that weekend.

In Las Vegas on a Friday night, future big league star Lance Berkman hit three home runs and drove in six, as New Orleans beat Buffalo 12-6 to win the title.

But that championship was almost an asterisks in the city’s history. Hurricane Georges was bearing down on New Orleans, touching off a mass evacuation.

New Orleans had not suffered a direct hit from a major hurricane since Betsy in 1965. Georges spared the city, moving into the Mississippi coast line.

The Saturday night before Georges arrived, over 80,000 LSU fans seemed oblivious to the looming threat. Fans filled Tiger Stadium to watch LSU defeat Idaho, 53-20.

In 2008, LSU’s season opener against Appalachian State was moved to a 10 a.m. kickoff to avoid Hurricane Gustav. As we made our way to the Tiger Stadium press box, reporters from Baton Rouge said they were pulling for us down in New Orleans.

Hours later, the shoe was on the other foot, as Gustav’s track took it over Baton Rouge. It did considerable damage, including at Tiger Stadium.

That Friday, the Belle Chasse Cardinals were scheduled to play the South Plaquemines Hurricanes. The two teams went on to the win state championships – Belle Chasse in Class 4A and South Plaquemines in Class 1A.

Alas, there was no Plaquemines Parish Super Bowl.

In an interview this week, former Belle Chasse head coach Bob Becnel said, 9 years later, the argument still ensues over who would have won that game.

“Greatest game never played,” said Becnel.

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Ed Daniels

WGNO Sports Director/106.1 FM

Ed is a New Orleans native, born at Baptist Hospital. He graduated Rummel High School, class of 1975, and subsequently graduated from Loyola University. Ed started in TV in 1977 as first sports intern at WVUE Channel 8. He became Sports Director at KPLC TV Channel 7 in Lake Charles in 1980. In 1982 he was hired as sports reporter…

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