In its third year, the benefit for Team Gleason moves to the start of the NFL season and is free.

Steve Gleason photo

[Updated] In its first two years, Gleason Gras was plagued by rain that - *ahem* - dampened attendance. On Friday, Team Gleason and the Louisiana Hospitality Foundation present the event when it returns to Champions Square, this time doubling as a pep rally to start the 2013 season for the New Orleans Saints, who'll play the Atlanta Falcons Sunday at noon in the Superdome.

For the first time, Gleason Gras is free, though special packages cost $75 and more. The talent lineup includes:

Galactic & Friends
Anders Osborne
Kevin Griffin of Better Than Ezra
John Michael Rouchell
The Breton Sound
Coyotes
and more.

Players from the team, Gumbo, Sir Saint, and the 610 Stompers will also be on hand.

Gleason Gras is named for former New Orleans Saint Steve Gleason, and is designed to help raise awareness of Amyothrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), which afflicts Gleason. It's also a benefit for The Gleason Initiative Foundation, a non-profit agency that works to help others with ALS; and The Gleason Family Trust, for those who want to directly support Steve and his family.

Updated September 6, 8:35 a.m.

For more on Gleason Gras, see my story in The New Orleans Advocate