Just when everything seemed to finally be right for New Orleans’ sports franchises, the city’s terrible sporting luck finally caught up to them.

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans squads were in a state of disarray. The Saints, often referred to as “The Aint’s,” were left without a home field. Things on the field weren’t looking great either. The season before Katrina, the Saints finished a woeful 3-13 and faced another season without a playoff appearance.

In basketball, the Hornets had just wrapped up an 18-64 campaign. After the terrible effects of the hurricane, the Hornets played in Oklahoma City for two seasons and seemed destined to leave New Orleans.

After Katrina though, those teams picked up the city of New Orleans in the only way that they could — they came home and won.

The Saints added Drew Brees and Sean Payton and made the playoffs the very next year. The Hornets did the same, as the addition of Chris Paul proved to be enough to turn the team around. The year they moved back to New Orleans full time, the Hornets won their division.

But since those peaks, New Orleans’ teams have fallen spectacularly. The Saints were recently found to have a bounty program that resulted in the suspension of Sean Payton for a year, the suspension of their interim head coach for six games, and left their former defensive coordinator facing a potential lifetime ban from the NFL. It’s also been widely speculated that suspensions for some of the players involved are forthcoming.

Since the Hornets came within one win of the Western Conference finals in 2008, the team has been purchased by the NBA, threatened to move to Kansas City, traded their star player for practically nothing — twice, but that’s another issue entirely — and are currently in the midst of a brutal 19-42 campaign.

The success of sports teams does tend to be cyclical, with teams experiencing rough times before drafting or trading for quality young players who then lead their team back to the glory, but the Saints and Hornets’ demise following their post-Katrina surges is staggering.

After years of positive coverage, one can now safely assume that any given ESPN headline about the Hornets or Saints is going to be the bearer of bad tidings. The only recent headlines concerning the Saints involve the tapes that emerged of former Saints coach Greg Williams telling his players to target 49ers running back Frank Gore’s head.

And the news concerning the Hornets isn’t any better. The NBA-controlled Hornets traded Paul to the Lakers, only to have the move rejected by the league. The rejection of the trade by David Stern was as absurd a move as a commissioner of any sport can make by meddling with the activities of a team to the point that the on-court product is far from where it could have been.

Stern did, however, announce that the 2014 All-Star Game will take place in New Orleans, but that’s little consolation for a city whose team went from having all-stars Chris Paul and David West to Chris Kaman and Eric Gordon.

So where does New Orleans go from here? For the Saints, despite a tattered image thanks to the scandal, the team is too talented to be kept down for long. After Sean Payton comes back from his suspension, this team should keep right on winning thanks to Drew Brees’ incredible throwing abilities and the team’s overall talent.

New Orleans’ NBA franchise faces a much tougher road. With a record currently worse than that of the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Hornets are in rough shape. New Orleans is locked into a deal with Emeka Okafor, who was paid $12 million this season, for the next three years. That’s a bad sign for things to come. Hopefully, the Hornets’ new owners will have a different vision for this team.

Both of these stories are a shame for many reasons, but mostly because the people of New Orleans deserve much more than two debacles of franchises. Hopefully, each team will have learned their lesson and move forward, past the stains that 2011 and 2012 have left on this proud city.

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