While not everyone who lives in New Orleans is a football fan, everyone in the community benefited from the Saints after Hurricane Katrina.

Research from North Carolina State University shows that the NFL's return to the Gulf Coast in 2006 was a landmark moment in New Orleans recovery from the disaster.

Katrina hit in late summer 2005. The Saints played their first home game in the heavily damaged, then restored Louisiana Superdome in September 2006. Dr. Kenneth S. Zagacki says that first game was key to the recovery.

“But the media coverage of the Saints’ homecoming, and the game itself, served as almost a purification ritual for the community. It really helped to reunite the community, giving them a common bond and helping them to move forward.

The paper, "Cleansing the Superdome: The Paradox of Purity and Post-Katrina Guilt," is published in the summer issue of the Quarterly Journal of Speech.

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