After his death, New Orleans Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson will transfer ownership of the clubs to his wife, Gayle Benson.
Here are five things you might not know about Gayle Benson.
-- Gayle (age: 67, full name Gayle Marie LaJaunie Bird) grew up in Algiers and attended St. Joseph, St. Anthony and Holy Name of Mary High School before graduating from Martin Behrman High School in 1966. (Sources: Associated Press and non-profit Behind the Bench)
-- Gayle began her career managing the New Orleans branch of a New York-based custom jeweler. She became an interior designer when she restored historic homes and led redesigns and renovations of hotels, grocery stores and car dealerships across New Orleans. She also created a successful line of women’s clothing. (Source: NewOrleansSaints.com)
-- Gayle married Tom in October 2004 at the Immaculate Conception Memorial Chapel in San Antonio. The couple first met at St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans. (Source: Associated Press)
-- In 2012, Pope Benedict bestowed the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, the highest papal award given to any lay person, on Gayle and Tom. The award is for outstanding service to the church and pope. (Source: The Advocate and NewOrleansSaints.com)
-- In April 2014, Gayle was added to the Tulane board of trustees, cementing her position at the school and adding one of the city’s most influential philanthropists to the university’s highest level. Together, the Bensons gave Tulane’s athletics department a $7.5 million donation toward the construction of Yulman Stadium, which includes the name “Benson Field” emblazoned on the playing surface. (Source: The Advocate)