City sends letter to Goodell seeking to host NFL draft

NEW ORLEANS -- New Orleans is hoping it gets picked for the
NFL draft.

The Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation has sent a letter to
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell seeking to host the annual draft and
turn it into a week-long celebration -- complete with events
including a Mardi Gras-style parade and civic events involving
retired NFL players.

The draft either would be held at the convention center or the
New Orleans Arena, said Jay Cicero, the foundation president
leading the effort. The NFL has not responded to the plan, he said.

New York has hosted the draft since 1965. It's set to be held at
Radio Music City Hall next year, and NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said
the league is committed to that event.

After that, he said, "we will review our options, including the
possibility of taking the draft to other locations."

The New Orleans Saints, and their seemingly improbable run to
the NFC title game last season, were the feel-good story for a city
still struggling to recover from Hurricane Katrina nearly two years

Cicero said there's "no question" the city could host the
draft and even enhance the event, adding some "New Orleans touches
to it."

The draft typically is held in late April, and in past years,
has coincided with the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.
Cicero doesn't see a problem with that.

Cicero said he met with Saints executives Rita Benson LeBlanc
and Dennis Lauscha to discuss the pitch before sending it to