The Paytons’ daughter, Meghan, 13, and son, Connor Thomas, 10, will attend schools in the Dallas area.
The Paytons lived in the Dallas suburb of Southlake while Payton was an assistant coach for the Dallas Cowboys from 2003-05.
Since 2006 when Payton became the Saints coach, they have lived in the Mandeville area, which is across Lake Ponchartrain from New Orleans.
According to the New Orleans Times Picayune, which confirmed the family’s move, Payton discussed such an arrangement with Saints owner Tom Benson before becoming the Saints head coach.
Benson insisted, however, his new coach and his family live in the New Orleans area with the city trying to recover from Hurricane Katrina, which ravaged the city and ripped the roof off the Louisiana Superdome in August 2005.
Payton, who grew up in Naperville, Ill., and new quarterback Drew Brees of Austin, Texas, became beacons of hope and symbols of the city’s recovery as the team reached its first NFC title game in 2006 before losing to Chicago.
After winning Super Bowl XLIV a year ago, Payton began working on the “Home Team” book with journalist Ellis Henican. Parts of the book read like a love letter to the city of New Orleans. It detailed Payton cussing out sports agent Mike Ornstein, who was representing USC tailback Reggie Bush in 2006 and told Payton not to draft Bush because he did not want to play in post-Katrina New Orleans. Payton drafted Bush anyway.
The book also detailed Payton’s jovial rides through the city in the Super Bowl victory parade and in the Mardi Gras parade Orpheus last year.
At a press conference just before the book came out last summer, Payton praised New Orleans and its people.
“There’s just something unique here,” he said. “There’s something uniquely different about our team. There’s something uniquely different about the fan base. So it wasn’t just New Orleans Saints that were coming back after Katrina. It was one by one, you, members of our community, people who said, ‘This is where we choose to be, and we’re going to have to do some tough work and we’re going to overcome some of those challenges.’ I wanted to make people feel good. I wanted to inspire the fans and let them know how much we truly appreciate being the home team.”
Since Dallas owner Jerry Jones fired coach Wade Phillips last season, there have been rumors Jones wanted Payton, who was the assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach at Dallas under Bill Parcells. After the season, Jones promoted interim coach Jason Garrett to head coach.
Rumors spread over the weekend at Super Bowl XLV in Dallas that Payton would be joining the Cowboys in the front office. In reaction to the rumors, Saints spokesman Greg Bensel sent out a statement Sunday.
“Coach Payton is the Saints head coach,” Bensel said. “He is not going to the Dallas Cowboys in any capacity.”
The Paytons appeared to be very happy and settled in Mandeville. Payton often spoke of his wife and children. His son Connor regularly played football in the Superdome after Saints home games with other coaches’ kids. He kicked field goals on the field after a practice in Miami leading up to the Super Bowl last season, and Payton spoke of making time for his kids when he could.
Beth Payton spoke lovingly of her newly remodeled Mandeville home and described herself as a “small town girl who wants to stay in one place” in a feature in the Times Picayune last September.
“I want to keep the kids grounded and real,” she said. “I want my house to be THE house – the one where all their friends congregate.”
She was not thrilled with the move to New Orleans originally as the city was still in poor shape after Katrina. A dream home was built in Southlake before the move from Dallas. As the family prepared to move to the New Orleans area, she asks her husband in the “Home Team” book, “Are we really moving this family into a disaster zone?”
The Paytons long have considered retiring in the Dallas area.
Payton, 46, will not be the first NFL coach to coach a team in one city while his family lives most of the year in another. When Tony Dungy was coaching the Indianapolis Colts, his family lived in Tampa, where Dungy previously coached Tampa Bay.
Payton is under contract with the Saints through the 2012 season.