Players jump for the opening tip at Saturday's Pelicans practice

Prior to open practice at Nicholls State, Pelicans view area's Hurricane Ida damage

THIBODAUX, La. – New Orleans players and coaches will share over 100 bus rides during the 2021-22 NBA season, constantly traveling from airport to hotel to arena. None of those trips will be as memorable as Saturday’s hour ride from the Crescent City to Nicholls State University.

Looking out the windows of their bus, the Pelicans saw for themselves some of Hurricane Ida’s devastation that ravaged Lafourche Parish in August. The parish is located southwest of New Orleans, spanning to the Gulf of Mexico.

“It was tough,” first-year head coach Willie Green said. “You see it on TV, but when you see it in real life, it’s touching, what people are going through. We are two months out (from the storm); I can only imagine what it looked like a couple months ago. These people here are resilient. They find a way to rebuild and continue to have joy and they do it together.”

“It makes you sympathize with people and really put yourself in their shoes,” rookie forward Trey Murphy III said of seeing more of Ida’s impact Saturday. “You don’t really have much to say (as you pass by the damage). Almost a loss for words.”

“I think everyone was just looking out the windows,” Green agreed, “seeing the debris, seeing the homes that got battered by the hurricane. It made it real for us today.”

After arriving on the Nicholls State campus, the Pelicans conducted their annual open practice in front of fans from the area, highlighted by an intrasquad scrimmage. The team wrapped up the event by announcing a donation of $100,000 to the school’s fund for hurricane relief.

“I think it was great,” Green said of having the opportunity to practice in Lafourche Parish and entertain fans. “That’s what it’s all about. Basketball and sports in general are a platform to give people joy.”

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