Haslett, Saints return to Natchez as part of Western Caravan

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 31, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; The New Orleans Saints are going to do something they haven’t done since the Jim Mora era: have a head coach and players come to Natchez.

Saints head coach Jim Haslett and others will visit Natchez May 15 as part of the Western Regional Caravan through Mississippi and Louisiana.

Haslett and players will meet Bowie’s Tavern, 100 Main St., during an afternoon visit.

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&uot;I think Mora came here, but it’s been many, many years ago,&uot; said Natchez businessman Tony Byrne, a member of the Saints’ fan advisory committee. &uot;I’ve been trying to get them to come, and they haven’t come. But they are coming this year for the first time.&uot;

Haslett will come with players and team officials in tow during a press conference and luncheon event from 11:45 a.m. until 2 p.m. at Bowie’s.

That event will follow charitable appearances to Natchez Regional Medical Center and Natchez Community Hospital from 10 a.m. until 11:30.

Players set to make the trip have not been identified, Byrne said. Others expecting to attend are general manager Mickey Loomis and executive vice president Arnold Fielkow.

&uot;We are expanding our efforts to reach out to our fans throughout the Gulf South, and this caravan will give supporters in five cities the opportunity to get to know our team and organization up close and personal,&uot; Fielkow said. &uot;We are looking forward to meetings Saints fans from all over the region, and we’re especially excited about making first-time stops in Monroe, Natchez and Lake Charles.&uot;

Others stops on the caravan include Baton Rouge and Lafayette. Each stop will include an autograph session, an overview of the 2003 season from team officials and a question-and-answer session.

Drawings will be held for Saints merchandise and memorabilia, and team officials will offer information for anyone seeking season tickets.