Bob Roesler – Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame
New Orleans Times-Picayune
A fixture on the New Orleans sports scene for more than 40 years, Bob Roesler began work for the New Orleans Times-Picayune’s sports department in 1949 after serving in the United States Navy. After being called to active duty during the Korean War as a reservist, Roesler built his reputation as one of the nation’s leading sports writers.
In 1964, Roesler was named sports editor of the Times-Picayune and was elevated to the position of executive sports editor in 1980. He continued as a columnist throughout his time with the newspaper. During his tenure with the paper, he excelled in shaping local sporting events by working on all New Orleans Super Bowl Task Force Committees, as president of the Professional Football Writer’s Associations and as chairman of the Sugar Bowl Sports Awards and Hall of Fame committees. He was involved with garnering support for the Superdome project and was a key part of the process to bring the first Super Bowl to the city in 1970.
“I probably got as much satisfaction out of landing that first Super Bowl as anything,” Roesler said in a 1994 Times-Picayune interview. “The game in those days, the late 1960s, was considered Miami’s. There were people laughing at us for trying to land something like the Super Bowl. But we worked at it and we got it.”
New Orleans would host 10 more Super Bowls after that first effort. And Roesler would cover all of them – he attended and covered 28 Super Bowls during his career. He also covered 31 Kentucky Derbys, numerous Belmont and Preakness Stakes, championship boxing matches and major college football bowl games, including the Sugar Bowl locally on an annual basis.
“I always felt like if Bob didn’t know about in New Orleans, from a sports standpoint, and even from a news standpoint, then it probably hadn’t happened yet,” said longtime colleague Brian Allee-Walsh, who worked as a Times-Picayune sports reporter for 33 years. “He was so in tune with things and had his finger on the pulse of this city more than anybody. He really was ‘Mr. Sports’ in New Orleans.”
Following that first Super Bowl in 1970, New Orleans would go on
After retirement from the Times-Picayune, he became a civilian volunteer for the U.S. Navy recruiting division and regularly taught a course in media relations to Navy personnel at the Pensacola Naval Air Station. He also continued his involvement with city and state officials to bring major sporting events to New Orleans.
Roesler was born in Hammond, but grew up in Lakeview. He was orphaned at a young age when tuberculosis calimed both his parents an an older sister. He attended Warren Easton High School but left early to join the Merchant Marine, then the U.S. Navy, serving on submarines in the Pacific at the end of World War II.
A charter member of the Press Club of New Orleans, Roesler earned the organization’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 1995 and he was awarded the Dick McCann Memorial Award at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1997. In 2004, the New Orleans Saints honored Roesler with their Joe Gemelli Fleur de Lis Award for his contributions to coverage of the team and of professional football. In 2005, a plaque featuring Roesler’s likeness was unveiled by the Saints inside the Superdome press box. He has been inducted into the Warren Easton Hall of Fame, the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and the Louisiana Sports Writers Hall of Fame.
The “Bob Roesler Award” is presented annually by the New Orleans Touchdown Club for excellence in media covering the New Orleans sports scene.
He died on February 22, 2021 at the age of 93.