Xavier University of Louisiana (XULA) students helped residents in the Baton Rouge area recover from their recent catastrophic flooding.
Thirty-one XULA students – including athletes Elex Carter, Seth Jackson, Innocent Kukulu, Lucas Martin-Julien, Wesley Pluviose-Philip and Chris Ward from men’s basketball, and Clarke Allen, Keairez Coleman, Katelyn McMorris and Darrick Williams from men’s and women’s track and field/cross country teams – traveled to Baton Rouge on Aug. 20.
They volunteered their time to gut flooded houses or work at a Red Cross shelter.
“It was easy for me to volunteer,” Jackson, a Baton Rouge resident whose house did not flood, said. “I wanted to help my city.”
Jackson and teammates spent nearly four hours in a flooded home. Their duties included cutting open walls to a height of four feet and carrying wet furniture to the curb. There was no air conditioning, and the volunteers wore masks and gloves to avoid contact with mold.
“It was pretty hot in that house,” Jackson said.
But Jackson left the house feeling good about his group’s efforts. “I wish we could have stayed and helped a little longer,” he said.
Jackson took advantage of another opportunity on Aug. 21 when he helped with cleanup at a cousin’s house in Baton Rouge. XULA’s fall semester began Aug. 22.
Flooding across the southern part of the state in August led to 13 deaths and the displacement of thousands. More than 120,000 households have applied for federal recovery assistance through FEMA.