Video: Lauscha talks officiating, renovations, fan experience at QB Club

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Saints and Pelicans president Dennis Lauscha knew the question from the audience was coming – about the officiating error regarding the clock late in the first half of Monday night’s game against the Houston Texans.

He handled it very carefully.

“Officiating is absolutely key to the integrity of this game,” Lauscha said Tuesday at the Greater New Orleans Quarterback Club presented by Home Bank at Rock ‘n’ Bowl.

“We have to get it fixed. That’s all I’ll say about it.”

With plans already in place for a multi-year renovation of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, the Smoothie King Center will be next, Lauscha said.

“That process is going to begin very shortly,” he said. “The arena went through a minor renovation a couple of years ago.”

It’s a different process between the two facilities.

“The beauty of the Superdome is it’s 2 million square feet and you can really move parts around,” Lauscha said. “The arena, you don’t have that luxury. It’s a little bit more challenging.”

The renovation of the Dome is scheduled to be complete in time for the 2024 Super Bowl, 18 months shy of the 50th anniversary of the facility.

“The Superdome is about to be 50 years old,” Lauscha said. “No one believed we could have a team here and we could be successful and we could build a Superdome.

“This community bought in, and now we’re looking 50 years back at the remarkable building we’re in. We have the best building in the league, the best community in the league and the best fans in the league.”

Lauscha recalled his first day on his first job out of college, at accounting firm Arthur Andersen. At a lunch meeting with the company partners, he asked for career advice.

“There will be ups and there will be downs,” Lauscha recalled being told that day. “As long as you can stay even, you will be successful.”

Monday night’s game, and even the last two years of the Saints and Pelicans, certainly reflect that.

“That has really been what we’ve done here,” he said. “If you have a strong core and your principles are right, you can make it through these ups and downs.”

A priority for the two organizations remains creating a premier fan experience, Lauscha said.

“You hear a lot about best practices,” he said. “When we stack up against other organizations, we’re really up there.

“Everybody talks about Houston, Atlanta, Dallas, Chicago, Los Angeles, (and that) we’re a small market. We don’t look at it that way. That gives us a chip on our shoulder. That gives us so much pride, when the underdog stands up and gets noticed.”

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Lenny Vangilder

Lenny Vangilder

Sales/Content/Production

Lenny has been involved in college athletics since the early 1980s, when he began working Tulane University sporting events while still attending Archbishop Rummel High School. He continued that relationship as a student at Loyola University, where he graduated in 1987. For the next 11 years, Vangilder worked in the sports information offices at Southwestern Louisiana (now UL-Lafayette) and Tulane;…

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