While Leonard Fournette is playing in Tampa Bay and getting ready for the start of the Bucs’ season, his heart is in his hometown of New Orleans.
In the midst of terrible damage caused by the devastation of Hurricane Ida to homes in the area of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana, Fournette has donated $100,000 of his own money to different charities in an effort to help everyone across the Gulf of Mexico. Those organizations are All Hands and All Hearts, Cajun Navy Relief, Direct Relief, SBP’s and Second Harvest Food Greater Bank Of New Orleans.
Fournette was there when Hurricane Katrina happened 16 years ago. He’s trying to help people by providing resources that weren’t available the last time a hurricane of this magnitude was around.
Bucs RB Leonard Fournette – Photo by: USA Today
“I went through Katrina, and I wanted to use my platform to help out my city and everyone that’s around Louisiana,” Fournette said. “Unfortunately we didn’t get that, so I donated 100 grand out of my money just to help the people out in New Orleans and all over Louisiana. Whoever is going through something, whoever needed something. Tomorrow I’m having a meeting with the team to whoever wants to give something to the funding to help out. That’s a big thing, hopefully it’s successful to help out those in need.”
Fournette detailed some of his experiences of goring through Hurricane Katrina. He admitted that he was younger at the time, so he didn’t realize how serious it was, but his family had to go through a lot just to survive.
“It was crazy, you’re young so you don’t really realize what’s going on,” Fournette said. “As you get older you realize the things you went through as far as lot of dead bodies in the water. Really having to start looting to try and survive for your family, going to Walgreens, taking medicine for your grandparents, food – just trying to survive. I’ve been through it before so I definitely know what it takes.”
Eventually his family was able to get out and stay in Corpus Christi, Texas, for some time. But before that, his family had to live under a bridge to stay safe.
“I stayed on a bridge for four days during the storm, raining,” Fournette said. “We were living in a hotel and the water was rising, so we had nowhere else to go. I think the entirety of New Orleans was on the bridge. I was young, I didn’t really realize, we were still surrounded by my whole family. Like I said, we were young, we didn’t realize it – it was no big thing growing up. Now that I see, imagining if that was me and my kids and how we’d survive, what would be the outcome?
“It was intense, everyone had covers, sleeping under covers, things like that. We had to go loot and get it. We were barbecuing under the bridge to get food and things like that. Some of them passed, it’s a lot elderly people who couldn’t swim and things like that, some old folks are stuck in their ways and wouldn’t leave their houses. We did the best we could for them to get out, but at the end of the day, we did what we could do.”
Though he’s a couple of hours away from his native Louisiana, Fournette has been in communication with what’s going on in the city. It’s part of why he’s trying to provide so much in these times.
“I know there’s a lot of homeless people right now out there,” Fournette said. “A lot of people’s homes have been demolished. Right now they’re making people evacuate – try not to stay in New Orleans because they’re running out of gas, food. There’s a lot going on. I’m trying to do the best I can do to help them and whatever they need.”