NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Family, friends, and strangers made their way to Notre Dame Seminary Wednesday to pay their last respects to Tom Benson.
This was the first of a two-day visitation for the Saints and Pelicans owner. His body was brought to the seminary by a police escort. There you could find dozens of people already lined up to say goodbye to a man who they say did so much for the city.
"He means New Orleans, he means the Saints," said Saints fan Janet Colley. "He did so much for our city, kept the team here after Katrina, and that's why we're here."
Benson's widow, Gayle Benson, greeted mourners for nine hours as there was a steady stream of Saints fans all day.
"This is a gentleman that has done so much for our city, it's the least we can do is say goodbye to him," said New Orleanian Mike Dolan.
It was an especially sad day for those who knew Mr. Benson best, like Saints public address announcer Mark Romig.
"In many ways my Dad and he were of the same generation. He was like a father figure to so many of us. And, he and my Dad worked together for so many years; Dad certainly announcing the games for a good number of the years that Mr. Benson owned the team. And, they got to know each other very well. I do remember that very special afternoon when Mr. Benson gave Dad his Superbowl ring," said Romig.
Visitation will continue Thursday morning from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. at Notre Dame Seminary on South Carrollton.