Authorities approve Saints' return to Caesars Superdome after Hurricane Ida, fire

It’s officially all clear for the Saints to head back to New Orleans.

After Hurricane Ida displaced the team last month and a small fire started on the roof of the Caesars Superdome this past week, the governor of Louisiana and mayor of New Orleans informed the NFL that the Caesars Superdome is ready to host the Saints’ home game next Sunday, Oct. 3, against the New York Giants.

“The Governor welcomes the Saints games back to New Orleans and appreciates the NFL and other teams working to accommodate the team in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida,” Christina Stephens, a spokesperson for Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, told NFL.com via email.

Greg Bensel, the Saints’ senior vice president of communications, confirmed the team is good to go for next Sunday — its first true home game since the team evacuated Aug. 27 before Ida made landfall on the Gulf Coast, canceling the team’s preseason finale and knocking out power throughout the city.

A source said New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell also confirmed in writing to the NFL that the stadium is ready.

Unlike 16 years ago during Hurricane Katrina, which ripped off much of the stadium’s roof, the Caesars Superdome survived Ida without any major structural damage. On Tuesday, a three-alarm fire started on the roof of the stadium — apparently an accident caused by a pressure washer being used to clean the roof — but the building sustained only superficial damage.

Setting up temporary headquarters at multiple locations in Texas, the Saints ended up playing their “home” opener against the Packers on Sept. 12 at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville and rolling to a 38-3 win. They lost 26-7 at Carolina last week and play the Patriots today in Foxborough, Mass. before truly, finally, returning home.

Coach Sean Payton said recently the team also plans to return operations to its headquarters in Metairie, La., on Monday.

Follow Tom Pelissero on Twitter @TomPelissero.

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