On its annual list of the 400 richest people in America, Forbes has pinpointed the richest person in Louisiana. And, while it shouldn't be a surprise to most, it does give you a good idea of that person's worth and impact on the state.

Gayle Benson, owner of the professional sports teams of New Orleans, the Saints and the Pelicans, is the only billionaire to represent the state on the list. She is No. 224 on the list of the 400 richest people in America. Forbes also lists her as No. 778 on the global list of billionaires.

According to the Forbes fact sheet on Benson, she is currently worth $4.7 billion:

  • Gayle Benson is the widow of Tom Benson (d. March 2018), former owner of the NFL New Orleans Saints and NBA New Orleans Pelicans.
  • She is now the owner of both teams, despite a multi-year dispute with Tom's daughter and grandchildren over control of family assets.
  • Family members sued, claiming Tom was mentally incompetent; the parties ended the dispute in early 2017 with a confidential settlement.
  • Gayle worked as an interior designer starting in the 1970s and founded thoroughbred horse racing company GMB Racing in 2014.
  • Gayle and Tom married in October 2004. She was his third wife.

Elon Musk is ranked as the richest man in America, followed by Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates.

Benson was recognized earlier in the year as the only billionaire in Louisiana. However, since that time, her net worth appears to have grown by almost a billion.

Benson has also been a major giver when it comes to donating to various causes. The Gayle and Tom Benson Charitable Foundation has given away millions, including the following, as of 2021:

  • $25,000,000 Gayle and Tom Benson Cancer Center at Ochsner
  • $5,000,000 Ochsner Clinic Foundation
  • $5,000,000 Team Gleason
  • $10,000,000 Brother Martin High School
  • Loyola University
  • $11,000,000 Pro Football Hall of Fame Tom Benson Stadium
  • $7,500,000 Tulane University Gayle and Tom Benson Stadium
  • $7,000,000 Notre Dame Seminary
  • $5,000,000 St. Mary's Dominican
  • $1,000,000 Southern Dominican Province Seminary
  • $400,000 Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation
  • $1,200,000 Shirley Landry Benson PACE Center
  • $500,000 Audubon Institute
  • $1,500,000 Xavier University of Louisiana
  • $500,000 Tulane University
  • $100,000 University of Holy Cross
  • $1,000,000 Stuart Hall School
  • $5,000,000 Jesuit High School
  • $100,000 University of Louisiana-Lafayette
  • $500,000 St. Augustine Church Restoration Campaign
  • $1,000,000 Children's of Mississippi Hospital, University of Mississippi Foundation
  • $25,680 Pat's Coats for Kids
  • Mississippi High School Activities Association
  • $40,000 Louisiana Baptist Children's Home
  • $35,000 Bienville Parish School Board
  • $1,000,000 UNCF, Mayor's Masked Ball
  • $1,000,000 Gayle Benson Community Assistance Fund
  • Operation Restoration Office Space free of charge for seven years in Benson Tower
  • $2,500,000 Second Harvest Food Bank
  • $1,000,000 Kingsley House
  • $500,000 St. Michael Special School
  • $1,000,000 Delgado Community College
  • $30,000 Pro Bono Publico Foundation
  • $10,000 Bronx Defenders
  • $105,000 Orleans Office of Public Defenders
  • $100,000 District Attorney's Office

The Benson family has not just had a major impact on New Orleans, but all of Louisiana, and it's nice to see the state represented well on the list.


Highest Career Earnings Paid By New Orleans Saints

We used the contract information provided by Spotrac to come up with this list. We based it on the amount of contract money paid by the New Orleans Saints to players, not their total career earnings. These earnings are up to the 2022 NFL Season.

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