John Fourcade, area residents help tornado victims

Published 11:45 pm Friday, May 9, 2014

By Stephen Hemelt

Former New Orleans Saints star John Fourcade was looking for help assisting tornado victims in Mississippi and Arkansas when he found an easy completion in the River Parishes.

The Marrero native received word last week that a former college football teammate of his who owned Hammer’s Buffalo Wings in Tupelo, Miss., suffered damage to the restaurant during a string of severe tornadoes that struck the region in late April.

Eventually, Fourcade said, he got word of friends, family and others who endured damage in Louisville, Miss., and Mayflower, Ark.

He put the word out on his Facebook page, which has more than 1,300 followers, that he would pick up relief supplies from anybody interested in donating and personally deliver all goods to those locations Thursday.

He spent the better part of two weeks collecting supplies from New Orleans, the Northshore and the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

On Wednesday, the man who was quarterback with the Saints from 1987-90, connected with LaPlace resident Yvette Oubre, picking up more supplies from her LaPlace apartment.

“I have a teenage son that just battled stomach and liver cancer and I know what it is to have hard times and need things,” Oubre said, referring so her 17-year-old son Joseph.

Oubre said her son, who was diagnosed when he was 15, is in remission, and she wanted to pay the goodwill forward after many in the community supported her son through fundraisers and prayer.

“I started collecting anything people would need and asked friends and family to help, and in a couple of days my entire den was filled with stuff,” Oubre said.

By the time Fourcade arrived Wednesday at 4:45 p.m., Oubre had collected clothes, sheets, blankets, cleaning supplies, food, TVs, kids shoes, stuffed animals and pillows.

The former Ole Miss quarterback said the supplies were just what he was looking for, adding anyone who donated to the relief effort can rest assured their supplies went to a good cause.

“When you pull up and get to help people in need, there is nothing like it,” Fourcade said. “I deliver it myself because I know it will go to people who really need it. It’s not like giving to these big companies, and it could end up overseas. I make sure this goes to people who are in need, because I am the one who drops it off.

“Their eyes glow when they know you are there to help out. I’ve got a lot of time on my hands to help, so I try to do what I can.”

Fourcade has dubbed his effort Fourcade’s Brigade/Punctual Abstract Disaster Team. Those interested can follow the group’s progress on the John Fourcade Facebook page.