Louisiana has seen incredible devastation from Hurricane Ida, in cities including New Orleans (especially with prolonged power outages in the wake of the storm) and Baton Rouge and also in smaller communities like Houma, LaPlace, and Lafitte that were more directly impacted by winds and flooding. One of the state’s famed figures, former New Orleans Saints’ star Steve Gleason (now also famed for his odds-defying decade-long fight with ALS), visited Lafitte Tuesday with his family and his Team Gleason foundation to hand out supplies, and he also gave quite the speech about resilience. Here’s a key part of that speech, via Jeff Duncan of The New Orleans Times-Picayune (who has the whole speech, plus more on how this came to be and the help the Gleason team was able to deliver):
“I believe that resilience is more than simply “bouncing back” from tragedy. Resilience is about moving through tragedy. If you’ve lost your house, people don’t bounce back from that. If you lost everything you have, you don’t simply bounce back from that. Or in my case, if you’ve lost your ability to move or talk, you don’t bounce back from that. You move through that tragedy.
“As we move through tragedy, we become stronger. Louisiana is stronger than we were before Hurricane Katrina. I am stronger than I was before ALS.
“I know that you’re resilient. And I know you will be stronger and better than you were before Hurricane Ida. And I’m grateful to be a part of this community. Thank you for inspiring me and thank you for having me here today. I love you.
“No white flags, baby!”
It’s certainly cool to see Gleason do what he can to help in the wake of a disaster like this. And this wasn’t a case of him imposing himself into a disaster zone (this came after an invite from Lafitte mayor Tim Kerner, seen at right in the top photo from Gleason) , or just dropping by to talk either. Duncan’s piece discusses the hours Gleason’s family and friends spent helping pack and distribute relief supplies, and Gleason’s wife Michel and son Rivers returned to Lafitte the next day to help out some more. But that speech also makes an impact itself, especially considering the role of Gleason’s punt block in post-Katrina recovery discussions and the perseverance he’s shown fighting ALS for the last decade. And it’s great to see him passing on that message of perseverance to a community going through a lot of tragedy right now.
[NOLA.com; photo supplied by Steve Gleason to NOLA.com]