NEW ORLEANS, La. (KFOR) – The University of Oklahoma Sooners were set to take on the Tulane Green Wave on Saturday, Sept. 4, in New Orleans, but Hurricane Ida forced the game to move to Norman.
In a Tweet, Troy Dannen, Tulane Athletic Director, announced the game will be moved and that they thoughts are with those in Southern Louisiana impacted by Hurricane Ida.
“First and foremost, my thoughts are with those in Southern Louisiana impacted by Hurricane Ida and to all those bravely responding to help,” wrote Troy Dannen in a Tweet.
Dannen said the game time will remain at 11:00 a.m.
SoonerSports reports because of the holiday weekend and other factors only the lower bowl will be used to seat fans.
Hurricane Ida blasted ashore Sunday as one of the most powerful storms ever to hit the U.S., knocking out power to all of New Orleans, blowing roofs off buildings and reversing the flow of the Mississippi River as it rushed from the Louisiana coast into one of the nation’s most important industrial corridors.
The hurricane was blamed for at least one death. The Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office said on Facebook that deputies responded to a home in Prairieville on a report of someone injured by a fallen tree. The person, who was not identified, was pronounced dead. Prairieville is a suburb of Baton Rouge, Louisiana’s capital city.
The power outage in New Orleans heightened the city’s vulnerability to flooding and left hundreds of thousands of people without air conditioning and refrigeration in sweltering summer heat.
Before the hurricane came ashore on Friday OU Athletic Director Joe Castiglione’s released this statement:
“As the National Weather Service tracks tropical storm and hurricane activity in the Atlantic and Gulf Regions, and as predictive models are updated, we have received many inquiries from fans planning to follow the Sooners to New Orleans next week when we open the 2021 football season at Tulane University. In the spirit of proactive planning and communication, I have been in regular contact with Tulane Athletics Director Troy Dannen for the past month. In the past few days, we have stayed in even closer contact as we continue to monitor the development of Hurricane Ida, which is currently forecasted to arrive along the Gulf Coast this weekend. First and foremost, our concern is with any and all those in the path of the storm. We are praying for everyone’s safety. At this time, the game slated for Saturday, September 4, is still on as planned. However, both universities are considering contingencies should post-storm conditions warrant. It is too early to speculate, but we will continue to monitor the situation and be prepared to take necessary actions as appropriate. Again, our concern rests with our friends at Tulane and all of those who could be impacted by the hurricane. Please follow OU Athletics online accounts for updates.”JOE CASTIGLIONE, OU VICE PRESIDENT AND ATHLETICS DIRECTOR
“I think its pretty cool, its good for the city of Norman,” said OU Student, Lane Wallace.
“I know a lot of people miss that spirit and game day atmosphere that OU is known for,” said OU Graduate student, Bethany Grissom.
Sooner fans and students are happy about the news the sooners game with Tulane will now be played at memorial stadium on Saturday.
“I think it would be great if it moves back because first game everyone is excited about it,” said OU student Will Fortino.
OU President Harroz joining in, saying, “In this extraordinarily difficult moment for the people of Louisiana, we want to do our small part by assisting Tulane with the game this weekend.”
OU says due to staffing issues only the lower bowl tickets will be up for sale. OU season ticket holders will have first opportunity to purchase tickets and will be contacted Monday evening via email.
“Oh its great! It’s going to be great for whole city of Norman,” said Jeff Stewart.
Stewart, owner of O’Connell’s in Norman, says he’s excited that OU’s season opener with Tulane is being rerouted to Norman, bringing fans and, more importantly for him, dollars to Campus Corner.
“An extra game in the season, that’s like having an extra Christmas day. I think it would be great,” said Stewart.
Tickets for the original game in New Orleans will not be honored.
Students will be allowed to buy ticket starting tomorrow and season ticket holders must buy there’s by Wednesday.
The game in New Orleans was going to have strict COVID restrictions with fans required to show proof of vaccination and wear a mask. It is unclear at this time if those restrictions will be in place at the new location.