Tuesday's on the New Orleans Saints' landscape usually mean three things: game-planning that lasts well into the night for the coaching staff, the players' day off and plenty of community outreach initiatives.
The Saints hit the town running throughout the day and throughout the region. CB Usama Young headed out to the Bunche Accelerated Academy in Metairie as part of a program with Saints' sponsor Domino's Pizza to talk to the students about the importance of reading and taking a serious approach to academics.
"I enjoy talking to children and it was great to see the enthusiasm they have beginning the school year," Young said. "Obviously the last week has been an adventurous one for all of us here in the Gulf South, but you would never have known that by being around the teachers and students."
Not too far away, RB Pierre Thomas and WR/KR Lance Moore stopped by Ochsner Hospital. The two offensive threats spent time talking to patients in the pediatric ward and the chemotherapy units of the hospital and brought smiles to faces of patients of all ages and walks of life.
"They say the best medicine sometimes is a smile and to joke around and to forget about your troubles, even if it is just for a short amount of time," Thomas said. "Everyone wanted to talk about the game on Sunday and the big game coming up this Sunday in Washington. There is plenty of excitement right now, that's for sure."
Moore, a regular visitor to schools throughout the area and hospitals, said the visits help him keep things in perspective. "We all get wrapped up and so focused on our jobs, that stepping back and helping people deal with emotionally trying times is something that feels good. It's great to see the smiles on their faces."
Meanwhile, Deuce McAllister teamed up with international hunger relief organization Feed The Children to provide 400 families with boxes of food and personal care items at the parking lot of the Houma Terrebone Civic Center.
Feed The Children has worked with a partner agency to pre-identify all 400 families who each received a 25-pound box of food and a box of personal care items.
"I spent all of last week in Indianapolis with my teammates," said McAllister. "While up there, we did not have the opportunity to see much news coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Gustav. Friday we returned home, and I spent my evening watching the news. I was shocked by the devastation across portions of the state and saw a specific need in the Houma area. At that time, I contacted Feed The Children and asked them if we could send a truck of supplies down to help out."
Joining McAllister at today's food drop was his wife, Danielle, and many other Saints players' wives.
The truck that delivered the food is the truck that McAllister personally sponsored for a one-year period. The truck has been "wrapped" with images of McAllister and children, showing his support for the l Feed The Children organization.
Also on the docket was a special screening on a new movie that is about to hit movie theaters nationwide, featuring none other than Saints fan Dennis Quaid. Starting left tackle Jammal Brown, tackle Zach Strief, cornerback Jason Craft and practice squad guard Tim Duckworth spoke to the children and watched the inspirational movie.
The Saints invited local children from the New Orleans-area to a free screening of the new Universal film THE EXPRESS, based on the true story of Ernie Davis, the first African American to win the Heisman Trophy. Davis led Syracuse to its first ever championship in 1960 during a time of racial unrest. He was the first pick of the 1962 NFL Draft and was preparing to play for the Cleveland Browns before leukemia cut his life short. The movie stars Quaid, Rob Brown and Charles Dutton.
Prior to the film screening Saints players spoke with the children about values and positive messages that they can take away from the movie and apply to their own lives. The Saints are one of 27 teams taking part in "NFL Day at the Movies" from Sept. 9 through Sept. 30.
If all the activities weren't enough for one day, the Saints hosted their annual visit at the team's facility for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society patrons. The annual Light the Night Kickoff dinner took place in the team's cafeteria and featured several Saints speakers and a tour of the team's practice facility. Starting SS Roman Harper attended the dinner and met and greeted the patrons.
Click here for a photo gallery of some of the activities the Saints were involved in today!