Falcons rookie and Hurricane Katrina survivor to play in anniversary game at Superdome

VIDEO: New Orleans native Deion Jones discusses Hurricane Katrina

It will be a special night for New Orleans and the state of Louisiana. 

The Saints host the Falcons on Monday night for the 10 year anniversary of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome reopening after Hurricane Katrina.

After the city lost so much, it rebuilt itself, including the Superdome which was a shelter during the storm. The Saints returned to their glorious home on a Monday night in 2006 and beat the Falcons.

But the anniversary game between the Saints (0-2) and Falcons (1-1) won't just be special for those in black and gold. It will also hold a special place in Atlanta Falcons linebacker Deion Jones' heart.

Jones is a native of New Orleans, and he was drafted out by the Falcons in the second round out of LSU last April.

While he loves his hometown, he does want to spoil a little bit of its fun on Monday.

"Kind of have to," he said, laughing.

Jones was about 10 years old when Katrina hit, and it damaged his home.

"Did a good bit of moving. Lost a couple things at my house. We had a little wind and rain damage. It blew the roof off, rain poured in. I lost a lot of baby pictures and stuff like that," he said. 

Jones also lost his grandmother shortly after reuniting with her after the storm. She died because of a medical complication, according to reports.

To say it was a hard time for Jones and his family is an understatement.

That's why when Steve Gleason blocked the Falcons' punt and the Saints recovered it in the end zone barely more than a minute into the game on that Monday night in 2006, it resonated with Jones. It was the first time New Orleans smiled again, cheered again.

The Big Easy was back.

"The punt block. I remember sitting there watching it," he said. "It was a proud moment for all of New Orleans."

Jones has never been to the Superdome. But he hears it's "pretty loud." 

As he steps onto the field Monday night, his presence will represent another redemption story: a New Orleans native and Hurricane Katrina survivor stepping onto the same field where a city found its soul again, 10 years ago.

"I'm playing for these guys next to me and the city of New Orleans despite everything and [showing] that we're resilient."

PHOTOS | Falcons draft pick Deion Jones


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