Tom Foreman | BIO
Reporter's Note: President Obama is an inspiring figure for many Americans, despite his current troubles in the polls. But sometimes even inspirational folks need an inspiring place to go recharge their batteries. In my daily letter to the White House, I have a suggestion.
Dear Mr. President,
If you had been in the Superdome today around noon, you would have seen a sight that would make you smile. At least it made me smile. There I was, your favorite pen pal, running down the middle of the field, right across the Fleur-de-lis on the fifty yard line. Oh yes, I stood on the same hallowed ground where my beloved Saints play. Did I mention lately that they are the Super Bowl Champions? And btw, Drew, if you need a new receiver, I think I’m ready. I sent a video of the whole thing to my wife and daughters on my phone, and they were so jealous.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/08/27/foreman2_web.jpg caption="If you had been in the Superdome today around noon, you would have seen a sight that would make you smile. There I was running down the middle of the field, right across the Fleur-de-lis on the fifty yard line." width=300 height=169]
This job is hard (like yours, only without all the dinners and fund-raising) and I’ll probably put in at least 100 hours this week, getting up early, staying up late, and working relentlessly through the heat and mosquitoes. But I’m telling you, a moment like that makes me say again, I just love doing this.
You may ask, “So my good friend, Tom, what were you doing in the Dome? Was the security staff snoozing? Ha ha ha ha!” (Not sure why, but I kind of imagine you giving a big presidential chuckle at the end of such a question.) Well, no. I was there to see how much progress they’ve made since Katrina, and I was impressed. Now, I know it’s a closed environment; not like trying to build fifty new houses down by the river. But it was also an absolutely mammoth project to restore that place after the roof was ripped off (it’s almost ten acres for crying out loud) and all those poor, suffering people had lived there for days with no electricity, limited toilet services, and so much fear and uncertainty.
Anyway, the restoration has been magnificent. As I toured around with the man in charge, Doug Thornton, he painted a vivid picture of what happens when two-million square feet of indoor space, full of electronics, walls, furniture and escalators, gets hosed by an ocean of water. He also explained just how hard it is to bring it back to life. It took countless hours of work, wheelbarrows full of money, and a lot of faith that it was possible.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/08/27/foreman1_web.jpg caption="As I toured around with the man in charge, Doug Thornton, he painted a vivid picture of what happens when two-million square feet of indoor space, full of electronics, walls, furniture and escalators, gets hosed by an ocean of water." width=300 height=169]
He didn’t always believe it was. When he looked at the wreckage, stood in the heat, and stared at the gaping holes in his roof, he thought the Dome and the town were done. But he told me he always urges his team to do something instead of doing nothing; even if it’s the wrong thing, try to make a difference. Not a bad philosophy, and at the Dome he proved it can work.
I hope all is well with you. I mean, I know you didn’t get to run around the field where the Saints play today, but still…
Call if you want to, but like I said it’s crazy busy down here, so I might have to let the phone take your message. But I promise I’ll call back, at least this weekend if nothing else.
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