The Packers may have been the reigning Super Bowl champs in the summer of 1997, but there was excitement in La Crosse about the New Orleans Saints hiring long-time Bears coach Mike Ditka. People were curious to find out when Ditka would get to La Crosse for the Saints’ 10th training camp at UW-L. Hotel bookings in the area were up during the weeks of the ’97 Saints camp.
La Crosse had a crowded ballot for mayor in 1997. On February 18th, voters had to choose between seven primary candidates to succeed Pat Zielke, who was retiring after 22 years as mayor. All the candidates were men, and former Assemblyman John Medinger led the field, with city council member Dan Herber placing a distant second to qualify for the main election in April. Medinger won, and served for two terms as La Crosse’s mayor.
“Star Wars” was back in theaters that February, 20 years after its original release. Moviegoers also could see Madonna as “Evita,” and Tom Cruise as “Jerry Maguire” in 1997, yesterday in La Crosse.