NEW ORLEANS (LA)
June 17, 2020
New Orleans’s favorite team has acknowledged providing “minimal” public relations help to the local archdiocese as it handled revelations of sexual abuse by clergy—but an SI investigation found that the team’s aid was more extensive. Survivors, who feel betrayed by both institutions, want answers.
Kevin Bourgeois’s phone was ringing. It was a Wednesday in January, three weeks after the Saints’ season had ended, and he was standing in the parking lot outside the team’s headquarters in Metairie, La., wearing a black-and-gold Taysom Hill jersey. Around him, a small group was assembling: One man sported a Drew Brees jersey, another that of LSU’s Joe Burrow.
Bourgeois recognized the number calling. The 53-year-old New Orleans native has been a Saints season-ticket holder for a decade, with seats in a row of the Superdome’s terrace level where he can stand the whole game without blocking anyone. Usually, when he sees the team’s switchboard pop up on his phone, it’s a sales rep asking about renewing his seats. But he knew that wasn’t the reason for this call: The Saints’ top legal counsel wanted a word.
Five days earlier, on Jan. 24, the Associated Press had published a story revealing that the team had performed public relations work for the Archdiocese of New Orleans related to its spiraling sexual abuse crisis. The news sent shockwaves across the deeply Catholic city, which has been rocked over the last two years by ongoing revelations of abuse by clergy members and Church employees.
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