Arnie Fielkow, who parlayed a top job with the Saints into a six-year stint on the City Council -- only to return to the sports world -- is coming back to New Orleans.
The former City Councilman will oversee the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans starting in September. He will replace Michael Weil, who is returning to Israel.
Fielkow called the new job “an absolute honor and a privilege.”
A Wisconsin native, Fielkow came to New Orleans in 2000 after serving six years as president of the Southern League of Professional Baseball. Before that, he was deputy commissioner of the Continental Basketball Association.
The New Orleans Saints hired him on as an executive vice president, a job he was fired from in 2006, shortly after he criticized owner Tom Benson for suggesting that the team play all of its 2005 regular-season home games in San Antonio, then negotiated a decade-long, $186.5 million contract between the team and the state.
The city, still reeling from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, embraced Fielkow when he ran for council shortly thereafter.
He easily beat veteran politician Jackie Clarkson in a runoff for the at-large seat in 2006. Before he ultimately decided to run for re-election, he seriously considered running for New Orleans mayor.
Still, the National Basketball Retired Players Association was able to distract him from political ambition in 2011, hiring him away as its CEO. He'll leave that agency, which represents retired professional basketball players, to work for the Jewish Federation. The purpose of the federation is to build and sustain a vibrant Jewish community in the New Orleans area.
His wife, Susan Fielkow, will also return to New Orleans to lead the developmental pediatrics department at Ochsner Health System.
"Arnie’s return to New Orleans as our chief executive gives the Federation an experienced community leader to continue the dynamic progress we’ve achieved in the decade since Katrina," said federation President Edward Soll.