NEW ORLEANS — The Shrine on Airline will have new life for the first time in 18 months when the Baby Cakes left town.
On Friday, NOLA Gold Rugby will move into the stadium.
The team erupted with cheers at the news they’re moving. For years, the team has been headquartered and practicing on the West Bank in Gretna.
“Gretna has been great,” said Nola Gold Head Coach Nate Osborne. Gretna has been great for us and the boys live at the apartments at the end of the street over here. We use West Bank Athletic Club, we use the field. All of the people in the area love the guys and they love this area.”
While the team is grateful for the opportunities and growth in Gretna, they’re excited to move to a facility which will better suit the team’s needs.
Tim Falcon, Nola Gold’s owner said, “It’s a huge lift for the spirits of the players by getting them into a proper, professional environment. The locker rooms are great over there. Tulane Sports Medicine will set up their clinic in there and they take care of our players. It becomes a so much more professional environment for these players.”
Nola Gold believes the move will help sell the widely popular sport to an ever growing audience.
“We’re excited to be good partners with Jefferson Parish and the Greater New Orleans Area to bring a great sport to the empty stadium,” Falcon said. “We’re going to be good tenants there.”
Last season, the team played four games at The Shrine. Now, they’re ready to welcome fans into their new home.
“This is a game where these players are playing off the charts, there are big hits, big runs, kicks and a lot of excitement,” Falcon said. “It’s a fun game to watch and the family atmosphere is wonderful.”
Osborne said, “A lot of the players have either taken a chance to come either to America or move their lives to New Orleans. To see us moving into a professional stadium adds that next layer of I’m a professional athlete and rugby player.”
NOLA Gold is optimistic the city will embrace the team like the team has embraced the New Orleans area.
This Saturday at 2:30, the team will host its Gold and White scrimmage, which is only open to friends and family of the team. Pre-scrimmage events begin at noon.