NEW ORLEANS – For 15 years, the high school football championships have been held at the Superdome, but now, that plan has been sacked.
24 hours after New Orleans Mayor Latoya Cantrell’s warning on the social media of more restrictions, if the city’s COVID-19 numbers don’t decline this week, there’s already fallout.
Eddie Bonine, Executive Director of the Louisiana High School Athletic Association said, “You know as well as I do, can a community turn it around in a week? The numbers for Thanksgiving and Black Friday have not hit yet. I think the numbers are going to get worse before they get better.”
Bonine said the association had concerns about the Cantrell administration reducing capacity at the Superdome.
“We weren’t going to be able to fulfill our obligations and pay our bills. We can fulfill that by going to Natchitoches at Northwestern State University,” Bonine said.
Kelly Schulz with New Orleans and Company said, “We know that our friends in Natchitoches, Louisiana will do a great job hosting this event, but obviously, it’s a disappointment for the City of New Orleans.”
Schulz said this is an added loss on what’s already been a tough year for the hospitality industry. Typically, the prep football playoffs would be an added boost for hotels and restaurants.
“We anticipate because of COVID, we’re loosing about 125 million dollars every week as a hospitality industry. We’re very much looking forward to the day that some of the restrictions can be lessened and we’ll be able to welcome people in large groups safely,” Schulz said.
The LHSAA is planning to return to the Superdome in 2021, but they say right now, they’re making the best move.
“There’s no way I could wait another week just in case and then ask for NSU to pull of an event of this magnitude. I mean this is college game day for them nine times in four days,” Bonine said.
WGNO reached out to Mayor Latoya Cantrell’s office multiple times Tuesday night for a response on the LHSAA’s decision to move the championships, but we have not heard back.