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New Orleans Saints Owner/Executive Vice President Rita Benson LeBlanc met with members of the British press as well as members of the Gulf South media that traveled to the United Kingdom and expressed her appreciation and anticipation for an eventful week.
"We, as an organization, are thrilled to represent the City of New Orleans, the Gulf South region, as well our many fans, and of course the National Football League," LeBlanc said shortly after arrival at the team's headquarters northwest of London.
LeBlanc stated that the team is expecting an impressive following of fans to travel to London for Sunday's game. "We are looking forward to our fans showing their Black-and-Gold and hopefully gaining many new fans here in the United Kingdom," she said.
A reporter asked her if there was a concern within the organization regarding the myriad of logistics required to move an entire football operations staff and administrative staff over 4,000 miles and across six different time zones.
"I will say that we have a great staff that has experience in preparing for games away from our practice facility," LeBlanc said. "Due to Hurricane Ivan, Hurricane Katrina, and most recently Hurricane Gustav, we have had experience in dealing with relocating. The key is to make sure that you keep the routine as normal as possible and allow the coaching staff and the players to get their normal work in while minimizing distractions."
LeBlanc also stated that the Saints organization was proud to represent New Orleans and will use this trip as an opportunity to spread the word to residents of the United Kingdom that New Orleans is back and ready to host tourists.
"Statistics support that the UK has an extraordinary number of people that love to vacation in New Orleans and experience the culture and everything that our city has to offer," LeBlanc said. "This is a chance for us to spread the word through our words and our actions what great New Orleans is and how great NFL football is."
Saints QB Drew Brees echoed LeBlanc's sentiments regarding what it means to be selected to play in just the second international series game at Wembley Stadium. "There are 32 teams in the NFL. The Saints and Chargers are the third and fourth teams to represent that NFL. I think that speaks volumes and I know I am honored to be here and I am pretty sure I speak for my teammates when I say that. We are looking forward to a great week."