LSU's women's basketball program will host the Katrina Relief Basketball Classic in the New Orleans Arena as part of "LSU Operation Rebound" with all the proceeds going to the New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity and the Friends of New Orleans Recreation Department (NORD).
"In the first year of LSU Operation Rebound, we selected two charities that would have a direct impact on families,” LSU Head Coach Pokey Chatman said. “The New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity allows us to assist in building homes for families while Friends of NORD allows us to build parks for them to play in."
"LSU Operation Rebound" is the brainchild of Chatman, a native of the New Orleans area, and was created to help rebuild Southeast Louisiana.
LSU will face Louisiana Tech in New Orleans Arena on Dec. 30, 2006, as the center point of a weekend of events to benefit "LSU Operation Rebound."
"LSU Operation Rebound provides more than just a basketball game,” Chatman added. “It has various fund-raising arms from an auction, to a banquet and including the Pokey Chatman Century Club. We have already received a great amount of support from individuals and corporations who want to assists us. Above all, I can't emphasize enough that 100 percent of all the proceeds from the various events will go to Katrina relief."
In addition to the game, a banquet and auction will be held in New Orleans during the Katrina Relief Basketball Classic weekend.
Along with the funds raised by the game, banquet and auction, the Pokey Chatman Foundation has created the Pokey Chatman Century Club, an organization of 100 people each contributing $1,000 to join.
The Lady Tigers program, along with the LSU Athletics Department, the Tiger Athletic Foundation, LSU Sports Properties and the Fast Break Club, has set a goal to raise at least $150,000 for the two charities.
“Friends of NORD is extremely proud to be a beneficiary of LSU Operation Rebound,” said Nancy Broadhurst, the executive director of Friends of NORD. “Pokey Chatman’s teams are known for great teamwork on the court and we can certainly now see that this extends off the court as well. We’d like to thank the Lady Tigers basketball program and pledge our support together as we help rebuild the wonderful city of New Orleans and its playgrounds.”
Friends of NORD was founded in 1994 as a non-profit corporation created to increase community involvement by providing volunteer services and interest in recreational activities and to raise funds for special projects and improvements for the New Orleans Recreation Department.
"To say we are grateful to coach Pokey Chatman, the Lady Tigers, and LSU is a great understatement. LSU Operation Rebound is a moving expression of the commitment, perseverance and creativity that it will take to recover from Hurricane Katrina,” said Jim Pate, the executive director of the New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity. “We are honored to be a part of LSU Operation Rebound's first season and look forward to working closely with coach Chatman and her team to make this a success. It will take the same skills to win the recovery as it does on the court: leadership, teamwork, individual responsibility, self-sacrifice and hard work. Coach Chatman and the Lady Tigers are examples of all these winning traits."
Habitat for Humanity was founded in 1976 by Millard and Linda Fuller and has built and rehabilitated more than 200,000 houses, sheltering more than one million people in more than 3,000 communities worldwide.
“Katrina has affected many of us in a very profound way. I don't know anyone that hasn't been touched directly or indirectly by the devastation,” Chatman said. “And while so many great things happened on Monday night, the message must not be that New Orleans is fixed. We are moving in the right direction and LSU Women's Basketball wants to be a part of that process but it is going to a long and dedicated effort by a great many to return New Orleans to its greatness."