This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2005, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Wearing new red T-shirts, with the words "UTAH FOOTBALL" emblazoned on the front, the spectators in Section W8, rows 45 to 47, of Rice-Eccles Stadium on Saturday night looked much like any other Ute fans.
They cheered when Ute running back Quinton Gantner scored what appeared to be Utah's first touchdown against the Utah State Aggies, and booed when a holding penalty nullified the score.
But these 110 or so spectators stood out mostly for where they were last Saturday: New Orleans, trying to escape the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.
Ellis Coleman and Jerome Sherman Jr. were plucked from their houses by rescue boats. Patrick Humphries and Herbert Landry were in the crowd at the New Orleans Convention Center. Joey Frey was among those who made it out of the New Orleans Superdome.
"I had lots of good times in that Superdome, going to Saints games," Frey said, "but I never want to set foot in there again."
On this Saturday night, some of the evacuees living at Camp Williams - 293 of the original 583 remained at the shelter - were given the full treatment from the University of Utah: Game tickets, free T-shirts and concession vouchers. An unofficial fan group, the Guerrilla Marketing Team, organized a massive tailgate party in their honor.
"You guys hungry? We got a lot of food," Welby Evangelista, one of the tailgate party's organizers, told the evacuees. They were treated to a spread of barbecue pork and hot links, burgers and hot dogs, and more - much of it donated by Salt Lake-area restaurants.
There was blues music, as Salt Lake performer James Derrickson played for nearby tailgaters enjoying, coincidentally, a Cajun crab boil. For evacuees like Herbert Landry, the night of football was a chance to relax.
Landry, 45, endured three days in the New Orleans Convention Center without medication for his diabetes. Since arriving in Utah, Landry has been in touch with his family in Killeen, Texas (his son is a soldier at nearby Fort Hood), and got a job at Alcoa.
Saturday, Landry and another evacuee, Frank Evans, had a good-natured debate on how Atlanta quarterback Michael Vick would do against Landry's team, the Saints, when they meet in October.
Ellis Coleman, 53, said he is a reluctant Saints fan. "[Utah] should have taken the Saints and let us keep the Jazz," he said.
"I like it here - I may decide to stay," Coleman said. "I have to survive one of your winters. If I can survive that, I'll be all right."