President Caboni and Todd Stewart reflect on time living in New Orleans as Tops look ahead to bowl game

NEW ORLEANS, La.-For the first time in Western Kentucky University’s history, the football team is playing a bowl game in New Orleans. 

“It’s just really special to watch all these young men and their families and the coaches and staff get to experience a place that’s so special to me,” said WKU President Timothy Caboni. 

Caboni has a personal connection to the city. He was born and raised here, and was beyond thrilled when WKU was named to play in the New Orleans Bowl. 

“Being from New Orleans, this city is great at welcoming and embracing visitors,” said Caboni. 

I asked him if he had any pictures of him growing up here, but unfortunately his family was hit by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. 

“It was tough. My mom and dad lived in a Katrina trailer for almost two years as they put the house on the coast back together. It was a tough time for them, tough time for the entire city. Part of living in New Orleans is there’s resiliency,” said Caboni. 

Another known face at WKU, Director of Athletics Todd Stewart, was living in New Orleans when Katrina hit. 

“We moved here in February of 2005 and Katrina came in August 2005. We had been here six months before it hit,” said Stewart. 

He worked for the Sun Belt conference as an Associate Commissioner until 2008. 

“Personally, of all the places I’ve ever lived, it’s the only place I’ve ever lived where on a normal day you run into tourists. Truly a unique city. I have so many memories just being here,” said Stewart. 

Both Caboni and Stewart hope the team, their family members, and the Tops remember the experience in New Orleans forever. 

“This is a city where folks love to have a great time, and take care of one another. and there’s something joyous in that. I hope I bring it to my days on the Hill and everything I do. I hope everyone takes a little bit of New Orleans with them to Bowling Green,” said Caboni.