There are a few cities on the Texans schedule that will always hold special meaning to me.
The annual trip to Jacksonville gives me the opportunity to see many former players of mine and to see how they've all grown. Some even have kids now, which is truly surreal. The trip to Charlotte this year will be a chance to see my wife's family, a few of whom have had Carolina Panthers season tickets since their inception in 1995.
But, if there's one trip that'll probably carry more significance than any other, it's this weekend's trip to New Orleans. Friday marks the ten year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina making landfall in New Orleans, setting off the most destructive and costly natural disaster in American history. Houston opened up its arms to those who were forced to evacuate New Orleans and many established residency in our city. It wasn't home for those New Orleanians but it was refuge.
When Katrina hit, we all knew that New Orleans would physically never be the same, but we hoped that its soul would remain. I'm a firm believer that the Saints success the following season and the Super Bowl championship in 2009 allowed that to happen. Sunday will be an emotional day and I'm glad that the Houston Texans are in that Superdome to celebrate the rejuvenation of that city on such a dark and tragic anniversary date.
My wife and I spent our Honeymoon in New Orleans twenty years ago. We were two teachers on mid-1990s teachers' salaries; Aruba and Jamaica were out of the question so we locked in on New Orleans as our spot. I haven't been back to New Orleans proper since we left for Houston after our week there in December 1995. When we left, we remarked how we loved everything about that city and said we'd have to go back some day.
Thanks to many in both cities, we still have that chance.
Texans players took time to meet family members of fallen First Responders with the 100 Club after practice on Thursday.