James Delivering Relief

that befell the Louisiana Gulf Coast during Hurricane Katrina. But as Bradie James talks about it, almost a year later, it's as though he's there, not here. 

"Like everyone else, we didn't know the severity of it until the next day," he mused. "I had a few good friends in New Orleans, and when we couldn't get in contact with them we were scared. I had about 10 people, friends and family, staying in my house. I remember telling 'em, it's no problem, because you'll only be here a couple of days. 

"It was four days later when I finally heard from my best friend, Cory Gaudet. He called and said they'd lost everything. I remember so well, man. He said, 'I lost the car, but it's just a car. We lost the house, but we have insurance for all that.' But then he told me he lost his dog. I mean, the storm took his car, his house, his dog. It took everything away." 

Maybe a lot of us have been able to move on. The people from Louisiana are forever affected. 

"They had no idea what was happening to them," James says insistently. "It's like, you leave for the weekend, you pack just a few little things. And that's all they had. They were left without the basic necessities we all take for granted." 

The LSU men's and women's basketball teams, both of whom reached the Final Four in the spring, took active roles in working at shelters and volunteering in any way they could. Former Tigers like Bradie James noticed, and tried to do their part. 

James worked during the spring with the Red Cross, worked with some shelters in Dallas and Baton Rouge and donated money and clothing. Now he sees this preseason football game in Shreveport as one more little thing that will have big meaning to Louisianans. 

"Sports can take your mind off where you are," he says. "A football game gives people some kind of hope again. It's important for the state of Louisiana that the Saints are back on their feet." 

That's part of why to Bradie James this is a game

"There'll be a lot of fanfare in Shreveport," he predicts. "With us playing, with Reggie Bush. We need to show him what we're about, too. This will be exciting. It's more than exciting." 

A different James Gang is coming back to town, and now when it's needed most. 

No room service for Bradie James this time, though. 

"No," he laughs. "That was a rookie thing. I'm going out."                             

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