On Feb. 7, greater New Orleans was hit with a series of seven devastating tornadoes, causing widespread damage across a half-mile stretch of the city known as New Orleans East. The tornadoes, some of which had wind speeds up to 200 m.p.h., were the worst the city had seen in more than 60 years and resulted in significant damage to more than 300 homes and businesses.
As disaster relief efforts continued a week later, Delaware North’s team at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport sprang into action to help hundreds of residents who were left homeless or impacted by the tornadoes.
“This is our community and it was dealt a pretty substantial blow with these storms,” said Sayed Mekhemar, Delaware North’s general manager at the airport. “We needed to find a way to help, and providing a hot meal to those who desperately needed one felt like a way we could provide the most impact.”
The team joined forces with local churches to organize a lunch at Joe Brown Park, where many of the affected residents are staying in the aftermath of the tornadoes. For more than three hours, associates served a lunch of hot sausage, red beans and rice, and bottles of water to more than 400 people.
“We could feel the appreciation from the community,” Mekhemar added. “We can’t bring their homes or their property back, but sometimes just showing some compassion and lending a helping hand goes a long way in alleviating peoples’ burdens in difficult situations.”