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Blakeview: Tom Benson

The richest man in Louisiana was born July 12, 1927

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This week marks the 90th birthday of Tom Benson, a billionaire and the richest man in Louisiana. Born July 12, 1927 in the St. Roch neighborhood, Benson graduated from St. Aloysius High School (now Brother Martin). After serving in the Navy near the end of World War II, he worked as a bookkeeper for car dealer Mike Persia. Benson's business empire began after Persia named him manager of one of his dealerships in San Antonio, Texas. In 1985, Benson bought the New Orleans Saints from John Mecom Jr. for $70 million. It took just one season for Benson, general manager Jim Finks and head coach Jim Mora to get the team to the playoffs. Though there was concern Benson would move the team to San Antonio after Hurricane Katrina, that did not happen. In 2010, the franchise won its first Super Bowl. Benson also purchased the city's NBA team in 2012, renaming it the Pelicans. He and his wife Gayle remain major business and philanthropic leaders in the region.

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