NEW ORLEANS — Hornets owner George Shinn wants his NBA team to stay in hurricane-ravaged New Orleans, but understands that cannot be done.
"Our objective is not to abandon ship here or to get out of dodge," Shinn told The Times-Picayune from his summer home in Telford, Tenn. "Our plan is to hope and pray New Orleans rebuilds. And I think it will with everyone's support and the federal money that's coming in there. I think it will be stronger."
The Hornets have received offers to play NBA home games this season in Louisville, Ky.; Oklahoma City; Kansas City, Mo.; Nashville, Tenn; and San Diego.
The Hornets cannot play in the New Orleans Arena because of damage to the building and city infrastructure.
Shinn said hopes are dimming to play in Baton Rouge because the downtown Rivercenter and LSU Assembly Center in Baton Rouge are being used as evacuation shelters and medical facilities.
"We want to play in New Orleans," he told the newspaper. "That's our home. But we can't. We can't come back even if the facility was clean because there's nobody else there."
Shinn hopes to have a decision next week on where the Hornets will play.
In other Katrina developments:
The Triple-A New Orleans Zephyrs plan to play again next season in suburban New Orleans even though Zephyr Field is now being used as a staging area for emergency relief efforts.
Damage to the stadium that hosts the Pacific Coast League baseball team "was minimal to what other areas received," Pete Fisch, director of operations for Beaver Sports, which manages the team for owner Don Beaver, told The Times-Picayune.
The Zephyrs, affiliated with the Washington Nationals, canceled the last three games of their home schedule because of Hurricane Katrina.
The family of high school football player Zach Morgan fled New Orleans two days before Hurricane Katrina hit. Morgan held out little hope of playing his senior year after his parents relocated to Columbia, S.C.
He enrolled at Cardinal Newman, a private school that put him on the roster. On Friday night, after only a couple of days of practice, he had four tackles and a fumble recovery in a 13-10 overtime victory over Wilson Hall.
"When I step onto the football field that's where I feel the most at home," he said. "On the field and in pads."
The stadium-record crowd of 36,914 at Joan C. Edwards Stadium for the Kansas State-Marshall football game contributed at least $521,000 to the hurricane relief effort.
The Jacksonville-Georgia State football game scheduled for Saturday was canceled because flooding from the storm damaged some of Georgia State's equipment, officials said. The game is not likely to be rescheduled.
In Houston, officials said the number of evacuees at the Astrodome, Reliant Center and the George R. Brown convention center went down overnight by about 1,300 to a total of 7,327 as evacuees continued to find other places to live. Officials at shelters in Houston and Dallas said they still hope to have everyone in temporary or permanent housing by Sept. 17.
The NFL team the Houston Texans plays its first home game at Reliant Stadium on Sept. 18, but Harris County Judge Robert Eckels said that was not a factor in trying to get all of the evacuees moved.
Georgia Tech reported it raised $24,000 for Hurricane Katrina relief with donations collected at the gate before its game against North Carolina.