Zephyrs want compensation for storm-related losses during Isaac

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wwltv.com

Posted on September 19, 2012 at 6:27 PM

Updated Wednesday, Sep 19 at 6:41 PM

Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News
Email: pmurphy@wwltv.com | Twitter: @pmurphywwl

METAIRIE, La. -- Hurricane Isaac and the disaster relief effort that followed struck out the last two weekends of baseball at Zephyr Field in Metairie.

The stadium was used as a major staging area for evacuation charter buses, the Louisiana National Guard and first responders after the storm.

"We were occupied once again for about a little over a week," said Zephyrs Chief Operating Officer Ron Maestri.

Maestri said the Triple-A baseball team lost eight home games and had to cancel other events planned for the Zephyr Field parking lot.

"We're not trying to be difficult, but I think when other people get paid and if they are going to use this continuously there should be compensation for us."

Maestri also said he has no problem with the state using the facility, especially during a state of emergency, but his team is now out tens of thousands of dollars in lost revenue.

According to the team's lease agreement with the state-owned stadium, it has use and control of Zephyr Field except during an emergency.

"The decision to use Zephyr Field is a state decision," said Doug Thornton, the senior vice president for the firm that manages the stadium, Superdome and New Orleans Arena. "That comes out of the governor's office of homeland security when there is an emergency and they have the sovereign ability to make that decision."

Thornton said the state is not responsible for the Zephyrs lost revenue.

"The state is responsible for any business loss that would be incurred by any sports team with respect to their operation or lack of operation due to a force majeure or storm related act like this."

Maestri said the stadium was a mess when the first responders left.

"We got to get some pressure washers in there," said Maestri. "We've got all of the oil from buses and tankers all over the parking lots. We're glad to help, but we need some help."

A Louisiana National Guard spokesman said troops returned to all of the facilities they used during Isaac and the sites were cleaned up and turned back over to local authorities.

 

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