What's next for the Saints?
But, one article in today's New York Times caught my eye. The piece, entitled "Granddaughter of Saints’ Boss Is Getting Ready to Call the Plays" by Lee Jenkins, talks about Rita Benson LeBlanc's future ownership of the Saints.
It's no surprise that Rita will be the next owner, based upon statements made by Tom Benson over the last year or so.
But, what I didn't realize were the extent of the ties she has to San Antonio.
For example, prior to reading this article, I was unaware that the Benson's had a family ranch outside of San Antonio. It's where Rita's mother and brother both live. In fact, Rita's mother runs that ranch.
Of course, there's Benson's car dealerships in San Antonio as well.
This article led me to do a bit more research on Rita, just to see what her background is. This Times-Picayune story from March 2006 by Mike Triplett is a very similar, yet more in-depth, piece on Rita. Here's what it says:
- Rita was born in Houma, but grew up in Johnson City, Texas - a small town just a few miles west of Austin, and a short drive from San Antonio.
- She graduated college from Texas A&M.
- Her parents lived in Cutoff, Louisiana, when she was born, but then moved to San Antonio shortly after, and then to the family ranch in Johnson City when she was 2 years old. (Not sure if this is the same family ranch referred to in the NY Times article...)
- Most importantly, she is quoted to say, "New Orleans is home to the Saints."
Obviously, Rita has an awful lot of ties to central Texas. However, based on her comments to Mike Triplett, she seems to understand where the Saints belong.
But, there are no guarantees. Those central Texas ties are strong, and having the support system of her parents, brother, and grandfather right there with her when she does take ownership of the team might be more important to her than anything.
At least for now, with the team's commitment to Saints fans in not raising season ticket prices for 2007, and the smooth ride that the 2006 season has been thus far, we can hope that New Orleans has proven it wants to be "home to the Saints" forever.
We shall see...
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