Saints forced to wait, watch from California

FREMONT, Calif. -- Though the Saints are safe in California while Hurricane Katrina ravages New Orleans, receiver Joe Horn plans to use some of the team's three days off this weekend to visit his beleaguered hometown.

"I was going to keep that quiet," Horn said Wednesday in the
lobby of the Saints' team hotel on the eve of their preseason
finale against the Oakland Raiders. "I'm going to try to help,
donate money, try to feed the families who have been in the
Superdome, do whatever it takes.

"If I have to spend a million dollars to get food, anything
monetarily, I'll do that."

According to general manager Mickey Loomis, the Saints will fly
directly to San Antonio following the game against the Raiders, and
will remain there to prepare for the season opener Sept. 11 at

During a team meeting Monday, a few players questioned whether
playing a game at this time was appropriate -- but most players
thought it might be a morale booster for the city flooded by the

"It might be a ray of light for the people who can't get out of town," tight end Shad Meier said.

"As football players, as a team, I think this game is going to
be good for us," Horn said. "We've got to give our fans
something, something to look forward to. At least they'll know that
we're going to go out there and play as hard and the best we can to
show the fans that we love them.

"In this business, the NFL must go on. That's just the way it
is. The games are going to be played, regardless."

Loomis said the Saints will use one of the same fields they
practiced on last year when they fled to San Antonio to avoid
Hurricane Ivan.

It's still uncertain whether the Superdome will be ready Sept. 18 for the home game against the New York Giants. If the Superdome can't be cleaned up and repaired by then, the game would have to be moved to an as-yet-undetermined location. Tiger Stadium, LSU's home field in Baton Rouge, is a possibility, as is Reliant Stadium in Houston and the Alamodome in San Antonio.

"It doesn't look very good," Loomis said about the chances of
playing in the Superdome in 10 days. "We haven't got all our
possible sites listed yet. From an emotional standpoint, we'd like
to play the Sept. 18th game in Louisiana."

Most of the players and other members of the traveling party
didn't know whether they had sustained property damage because
phones using the 504 area code don't get or receive calls. All the
players can do is watch the cable news channels in their hotel

"You have people who are trying to survive and unrealistic
looters who are trying to get sneakers and shirts to put on because
it's wet out there," Horn said after watching TV accounts of
stores being cleaned out by mobs in New Orleans. "I'm not upset by
people breaking in and getting things.

"To take things like DVD players, TVs and things like that,
that's just crazy. But I would be doing the same thing if I were in
New Orleans and my children needed to eat or I had to go to the
mall to get a shirt for them to wear. Guess what, you'd be calling
Joe Horn [a] looter. The businesses there aren't going to sell
anything, because it's all going to be under water. If I owned a
business, I'd be telling the people to come get it."