New Orleans Saints give Thanksgiving turkeys

Published 11:43 pm Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Fresh from thrashing the Green Bay Packers, the New Orleans Saints gave thanks, turkeys, trimmings and the occasional autograph to 1,000 needy hometown fans.

“This is a blessing,” Gwendolyn Monroe said as she left the YMCA in Central City on Tuesday. “I’ve got this turkey and I’m off on Thanksgiving day.”

Her salary as a dietary aide for the elderly covers her bills but she couldn’t afford anything special for Thanksgiving, she said.

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She got signatures from four of the 10 Saints who handed out frozen turkey after frozen turkey, and bag after bag of stuffing, cranberry sauce, and canned vegetables and yams, but she didn’t know their names.

“I know he’s 78,” she said, pointing to offensive tackle Jon Stinchcomb, who wasn’t wearing a numbered jersey.

Another woman got center Jonathan Goodwin’s autograph, then asked him to print his name so she’d know whose signature she had.

That can be seen as reason for thanks, Goodwin said. “If you’re an offensive lineman, the only time you get a lot of recognition is when you play badly.”

To top it off, the Saints had beaten the Packers 51-29 the night before.

Barbara England held up a sign written in ball point pen: “Pierre Thomas grilled the cheeseheads. U Go Boi 23.”

Thomas, who rushed for 87 yards and two touchdowns, wasn’t there. Seeing wide receiver Lance Moore would have been as good, said her grandson, Romalis Ingram.

“He’s not here either,” England said. She grinned. “After that big win, they deserve a break.”

Several hundred people left disappointed for another reason — they didn’t have one of the vouchers given to people who register ahead of time with proof that their income is low enough to qualify.

Many with food vouchers also got big black-and-gold cloth bags to carry the food. Others brought folding carts; Mary Elizabeth Breaux had a basket on her walker. Stinchcomb, who had hauled a half-dozen turkeys and as many bags of trimmings to the back, placed Breaux’s bags in the tilted basket.

“Did I do it right?” he asked.


He leveled the basket and pushed it in a bit. “Like that?”


The Saints take a collection to buy the food — it doesn’t come out of any team fund, a team spokesman said.

“I’m thankful to have a lot myself,” Goodwin said. “It’s a good opportunity to give back.”