TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama head men's basketball coach and New Orleans, La., native Avery Johnson couldn't just sit and watch silently as his native Southern Louisiana home was devastated by the recent catastrophic flooding, so he acted. And now he's asking for the city of Tuscaloosa and state of Alabama to do the same thing.
Johnson, a 1988 graduate of Southern University, rented and filled a semi-truck full of supplies, including water, soap, towels, clothes and more, to help the victims of the floods. The truck departed Tuscaloosa at 1 a.m. Thursday, arriving in Baton Rouge several hours later.
"My heart goes out to all the residents of the Baton Rouge area that have been impacted by this devastating flood," Johnson said. "I wanted to figure out an immediate way to help support the recovery efforts. In talking with Interim AD and men's basketball coach Roman Banks, I decided I wanted to load up an 18-wheeler with as many supplies as we could possibly fit on it and get it to Baton Rouge from Tuscaloosa immediately."
Johnson vowed his help will not end there and that he will continue to play a big part to help his native area recover from the flooding.
"I will continue to be a part of the restoration efforts," Johnson said. "This was just a small showing of love and support for a community that's dear to my heart. I'm proud to be a 1988 graduate of Southern University and I wanted to let people down there know we are thinking and praying for the entire community."
At least 400 of the thousands of the flood victims that have evacuated their homes have sought shelter on Avery Johnson Court at the F.G. Clark Activity Center – Southern University's basketball court – which is currently being run by the American Red Cross. According to reports, the temporary shelter reached its capacity but buses continued to arrive throughout the latter part of the week.
Johnson is asking for people in Tuscaloosa and the state of Alabama to please support and donate to the Southern University Flood Relief Fund or through the American Red Cross.
"I would like to reach out to my new family in Tuscaloosa and the state of Alabama to please join me in supporting the flood relief efforts," Johnson said.