Skip to main content

News | Washington Commanders -

New Orleans: Close to Home For 3 Redskins

A lot has changed in the city of New Orleans since Jason Campbell last played a game there.

It was Jan. 3, 2005, when Campbell led the Auburn Tigers to a 16-13 victory over Virginia Tech in the Nokia Sugar Bowl. He was named MVP of the game after completing 11-of-16 passes for 189 yards and one touchdown.

Since then, New Orleans has been ravaged by Hurricane Katrina in August 2005 and much of the city still has not recovered. The Saints franchise suffered through a dismal 3-13 season in 2005.

This season, the Saints have been among the surprise teams in the NFL and, at 9-4 and in first place in the NFC South, they are positioned to make a run at the Super Bowl.

Many fans, still feeling the aftereffects of Katrina, have used the Saints as a rallying point in rebuilding the city.

The 4-9 Redskins head to New Orleans this weekend for the first time since Hurricane Katrica struck the city.

Campbell, who grew up in Taylorsville, Miss., about 90 minutes east of New Orleans, knows what many people in the Gulf Coast region have gone through since Hurricane Katrina. Campbell's hometown was hit hard by tornadoes, but otherwise avoided the severity other towns and cities felt in the region.

"They're continuing to rebuild down there," he said. "I'm from that area so I understand how tough it is in some areas. What the Saints are doing as a team means so much for that community and for that city."

Campbell said he expects 30-50 relatives and friends to be in attendance at the game.

"I won't be nervous--I'll be excited," Campbell said of playing in front of family and friends. "It's the only time this year that I'll play close to them. It's an opportunity for them to come out and support me and watch me play."

Defensive end Demetric Evans grew up in Haynesville, La., which is located in the northern part of Louisiana. The town of Haynesville has felt the affect of Hurricane Katrina more through the displacement of New Orleans residents, Evans said.

"There are a lot of people from South Louisiana who have been displaced and they're living in that area due to the hurricane," Evans said.

Evans said he is amazed at how the Saints have turned around their fortunes in such a short period of time.

"To go from Hurricane Katrina to a 3-13 record to a change in coaches, and then to see them playing the way they are, you have to take your hat off to them," Evans said. "The city has rallied behind the team and the team has given them something to cheer for."

Like Campbell, Evans will have plenty of friends and family cheering him on. And he hopes to reward them with a victory over the Saints.

"Even though I'm going back home, the most important thing is getting a victory," he said.

Left tackle Chris Samuels, whose hometown of Mobile, Ala., was also impacted by Hurricane Katrina, echoed those sentiments.

"We want to go down there and play well," Samuels said. "We know those guys have been through a lot. They're past that and they're hot right now. We desperately need a victory."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.