Plain spoken, honest, insightful, comical, real, just some of the words I have heard used to describe Hokie Gajan. Hokie, the New Orleans Saints color commentator, died this week he was 56.

Hokie was storyteller. He knew football. He related his own experiences and brought "us", the fans, right into the middle of the huddle. He never made excuses for players. If you were playing like dirt on the field Hokie said so. This past season when the Saints were playing some of their worst football in a decade Hokie told it like it was. I remember him saying " This may be the worst football team in the NFL right now".

John Ed Bradley played alongside Hokie at LSU. He told the Louisiana Radio Network about his former teammate and friend.

He was a guy that everybody loved, you wanted to be around him, he was funny, he was witty, he worked hard, he worked harder than everybody else.

He was drafted by the Saints in 1981, the same year the team chose another running back, George Rogers with the first pick overall. This did not deter Hokie, who was drafted in the 10th round, from busting his butt to make the team.  He did.

When asked if the NFL should shorten its draft day procedure Hokie told me he didn't think that would be a good idea. He suggested that if it weren't for the later rounds players like himself and many countless other stars would have never had the chance to make the squad and make a difference.

Hokie made a difference. He kept a lot of fans loving the Saints through the very lean years. He also expressed many of the same feelings we fans had when the team finally reached the pinnacle of the league by winning the Super Bowl.

Hokie Gajan played his entire football career for Louisiana teams. He starred at Baker High School, LSU, and the Saints. He loved being from Louisiana and never missed a chance to show that pride to anyone who would listen.

This Saints fan, along with thousands, maybe millions of others from around the world, will miss our radio friend. Most of us got to know him as a Tiger then a Saint. We learned to love him for being himself.

Services for Hokie Gajan will be held today at St. Anselm Catholic Church in Madisonville Louisiana. Visitation begins at 10 AM with eulogies to start at 2:30 PM. The funeral mass will begin at 3 PM.