JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — In football, cheese and gumbo don’t always mix, except in Jacksonville.
TIAA Bank Field was packed with fans on Sunday, but barely any were for the Jaguars. The New Orleans Saints hosted the Green Bay Packers, as damage from Hurricane Ida is forcing the Saints on the road for a month.
Roughly 35,000 fans were in attendance, which is about half capacity, and it included some Louisiana residents who evacuated — like Kelly Koll.
“We had some damages and everything, but we have a house,” Koll said.
Koll lives in Houma, Louisiana, but evacuated to Jacksonville to stay with a friend. She’s been in Duval for two weeks, saying electricity just came back on in the home.
“It’s going to take a long time to rebuild, but we are a strong community, and everybody helps everybody,” she said.
Two teams and fan bases were brought together, making the most out of their stop in Duval, including Packers fan Bryan Shess
“We want some firepower. We want some touchdowns. We want a Packers victory more than anything. But it’s just a blessing to be here,” he said.
He didn’t get what he wanted, as the Packers lost 38-3. As for Koll, she said she’s still thinking about everyone impacted by Ida.
“I’m privileged to be here today to support my team but haven’t lost in my heart what’s going on back home,” she said.
The Saints aren’t scheduled to play another home game until Week 4 on Oct. 3. The city’s mayor has indicated the team should be able to play back in New Orleans.
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