New Orleans, LA – Fielkow is leaving New Orleans for Chicago, where he will be chief executive officer of the National Basketball Retired Players Association. He arrived in New Orleans 12 years ago with the Saints' front office. But that ended badly when he disagreed publicly with owner Tom Benson's plan to play post-Katrina games in Texas. Fielkow wanted Louisiana venues. The Saints did play in Baton Rouge, but Fielkow was out.
"Unfortunately I lost my position with the Saints, had to come back and decide what do I want to do with my life. You know, do I stay in New Orleans? Do I go back into sports at the time? And I made, you know, one of the best decisions I ever made in my life, which was to run for public office."
Fielkow had some tense moments with the Nagin administration, notably on the process of awarding contracts. Mayor Ray Nagin vetoed a transparency initiative he says overstepped the City Charter. Fielkow is more aligned with Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who issued a statement thanking Fielkow for his years of service and support of his plans for economic development and reform of city government.
"I hope that we look back and we look at the three new hospitals we're going to build in the city over the next four years: VA, LSU and Methodist. I look back at some of the health care clinics that have been built. I look at the billion aid in public schools that are being renovated or newly built in our city, and a whole slew of other things and I don't this there's any question that the city is going to soar into the future."
Fielkow says he has a plan to use his new job to help New Orleans.
" to bring former NBA players here and to do some clinics and teach kids about life and the importance of success and how to deal with life challenges. There will be no better ambassador for the City of New Orleans than me out there, telling what I saw here during my 12 years."
Fielkow's resignation takes effect October 1st. The council is expected to select an interim replacement ahead of a special election.
For WWNO, I'm Eileen Fleming