NEW ORLEANS -- One day prior to the biggest college football of the game of the season, 15 members of the LSU football team took to an even bigger cause to help construct two new baseball fields at the Rosenwald Boys and Girls Club of the New Orleans Recreation Department.
The collaboration was organized by the Ohio State community and also involved LSU cheerleaders, faculty, staff and alumni. LSU Chancellor Sean O’Keefe and Louisiana Lieutenant Governor Mitch Landrieu provided a helping hand.
Together, the group broug ht new life to a playground that was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina on South Broad Street. Two new baseball fields were constructed with new infields thanks to the digging efforts of LSU players. LSU cheerleaders and faculty helped build steel bleachers and painted walls of a renovated children’s pool house.
The new playground is part of the NFL’s Youth Education Town Center, which is designed to help kids succeed by providing educational assistance, job training, technical instruction, life-skills development and recreational outlets. The center is one of 12 nationwide.
Other volunteers hand sewed over 150 blankets that will be distributed to those in need in the New Orleans area and the Boys and Girls Club. The entire area was complete with new landscaping.
“The whole world knows what New Orleans went through,” LSU senior defensive tackle Anthony Zehyoue said. “Just to be a part of whatever we can to help out is more important than the game itself. The game will last three hours. What happens when all those people leave, there will still be a city in shambles. New Orleans is a city that has gone through so much.”
For many, sports are a metaphor for life. It provides children with a place to start dreams, learn lessons and build character. The opportunity to build a new baseball field will allow chil dren in the area to live that experience, Zehyoue said.
“Sports definitely helped me in my life,” said Zehyoue. “A lot of kids get in trouble because they do not have any resources. The fact that they will now have a baseball field, a lot of dreams will be able to be fulfilled when kids come out here. Just for them to have something to do is so important instead of getting into the wrong things.”
“This was a tremendous day and a tremendous opportunity to give something back to our community,” said O’Keefe. “We are all united in an effort to make this a better place. As Louisianans, this is our home. It has been a long struggle. This is part of our heritage, part of our legacy and part of what we want to see is a better New Orleans.”