Brian Allee-Walsh

The Saints-Ravens exhibition seems rather trivial in the far bigger game of life

New Orleans Saints kicker Wil Lutz (3) kicks a field goal under pressure from Houston Texans cornerback Johnathan Joseph (24).
New Orleans Saints kicker Wil Lutz (3) kicks a field goal under pressure from Houston Texans cornerback Johnathan Joseph (24). Associated Press

As much as we hurt for others, life goes on.

The New Orleans Saints and Baltimore Ravens close out the preseason at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, the same stadium that served as a place of last resort for upwards of 30,000 displaced citizens during Hurricane Katrina 12 years ago.

And while the NFL exhibition will go on as scheduled in the Big Easy, I can't help but pause, reflect and consider how extremely fortunate we are to have escaped the wrath of Hurricane Harvey, an epic, catastrophic rain maker that continues to turn lives upside down for millions in Texas, Louisiana and parts elsewhere in our country.

Truth be told, this could have been many of us who are reading this column.

It was us on August 29, 2005, when Katrina invaded the Gulf of Mexico as a Category 5 storm and left our Gulf Coast Region in ruins and forced Saints owner Tom Benson to relocate his business and football operations to San Antonio, Texas, for the '05 season.

The city of Houston welcomed untold thousands of evacuees, including the Allee-Walsh family. We lost our home on the southshore of Lake Pontchartrain and spent nearly four months living in Webster, a community off I-45, halfway between Houston and Galveston. I commuted several times a week between Webster and San Antonio while covering the Saints for The Times-Picayune.

I bring this up because my heart aches for the people of Houston and surrounding areas. Katrina victims know first hand the untold losses suffered by Harvey victims and the many hardships that face people and communities as they begin the monumental task of putting their broken lives back together in the coming days, weeks, months and yes, years.

And they will, one painstaking step at a time. We are a resilient people.

I fully intended to comment on Thursday night's Saints-Ravens game. I know how sports can serve as a good, healthy distraction at times like this. We remember the emotional re-opening of the Superdome for the Saints-Atlanta Falcons game on Sept. 25, 2006, and what it meant to the collective pysche of our city, region, country and Saints fans everywhere.

At some point, the doors will re-open at NRG Stadium, home to the Houston Texans, who were scheduled to host the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday night. Because of Harvey, the NFL moved the game to AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, and then abruptly canceled it Wednesday.

In New Orleans, I'm hoping Saints officials will ask for a moment of silence before Thursday night's kickoff in the Superdome and remember those who have lost their lives as a result of Harvey and the millions of other flood victims left behind in its wake. Too, we can't forget the good, brave folks who are risking their lives to save the lives of others.

For most of us, life goes on as normal.

For Harvey's victims, life is anything but.

Baltimore Ravens at New Orleans Saints

When: 7 p.m. tonight

Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome

Radio: WWL-870-AM, 105.3 FM

TV: ABC-WLOX

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