[Hpn] City's homeless leave mark on Carlisimo

William C. Tinker wtinker@verizon.net
Thu, 17 Jan 2008 05:41:40 -0500


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City's homeless leave mark on Carlisimo
Sonics aid displaced Duncan Plaza residents=20

Thursday, January 17, 2008=20

http://www.nola.com/hornets/t-p/?/base/sports-3/1200551530230120.xml&coll=
=3D1

By John Reid
Coach P.J. Carlisimo and his Seattle players had just left the Bridge =
House on Tuesday, where they served food to about 75 recovering drug and =
alcohol abusers.=20

It was a scheduled event as part of the NBA Cares program, where a =
number of NBA visiting teams have participated in community projects in =
an effort to contribute in the city's recovery from Hurricane Katrina.=20

But Carlisimo still remembered the team's last trip to New Orleans on =
Dec. 9, when the team bus passed by Duncan Plaza en route to New Orleans =
and he saw hundreds of tents and homeless people in the park.=20

At the time, the deadline had not passed for the park to close and the =
homeless to pack up their belongings and leave to make way for a =
construction zone for the demolition of an office building adjacent to =
the Plaza.=20

"We went right by the tent city and it kind of stuck," said Carlisimo. =
"We thought it would be special to do something beyond the Bridge House =
to help the homeless people."=20

Because of time constraints the Sonics could not participate in a =
scheduled basketball clinic after the Bridge House event, so Carlisimo =
had the team bus stop at Claiborne Avenue and Canal Street, where a =
number of homeless people live in tents under the I-10 overpass since =
Duncan Plaza was closed Dec. 22.=20

Carlisimo said they partnered with Mother's Restaurant owner Jerry =
Amato, who told them about the homeless site at the Claiborne and Canal =
location.=20

Carlisimo and his 14 players unloaded boxes of food from the storage =
area underneath their bus, only a few blocks from the team's upscale =
Canal Street hotel.=20

"We just wanted to feed them and give them a ray of hope," rookie star =
Kevin Durant said. "Just let them see that we're here for them. I think =
it kind of humbled us. A lot of those people were smiling when we =
approached them."=20

Seattle SuperSonics spokesman Kurt Fedders said the players and =
Carlisimo walked around with boxes, handing out food plates and water. =
Carlisimo walked on both sides of the street to hand out food plates.=20

"We had enough to feed 150, and we went through it all," Fedders said.=20

Carlisimo got teary-eyed before Wednesday's game while talking about the =
smiles he saw after giving the homeless something else to think about =
for a few minutes besides their despair.=20

"The players thought it was a enjoyable experience and it worked out =
well," Carlisimo said. "It just reinforces how lucky we all are. Our =
guys contributed and bought the food, and to do it quietly like the way =
they did made it even better."=20

Guard Delonte West said the decision to feed the homeless was made not =
only by Carlisimo, but by all of the players after they arrived in New =
Orleans early Tuesday morning.=20

"I wanted to be involved to help," West said. "The most important thing =
you can give is your time. They were very happy to see us and they were =
surprised. It will be an experience I won't forget and they probably =
won't either."=20

. . . . . . .=20

John Reid can be reached at jreid@timespicayune.com or (504) 826-3405.=20

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<H1 class=3Dred>
<H1 class=3Dred>City's homeless leave mark on Carlisimo</H1></H1>
<DIV class=3Dsubhead>
<DIV class=3Dsubhead><B>Sonics aid displaced Duncan Plaza residents</B> =
</DIV>
<DIV class=3Dsubhead><STRONG></STRONG>&nbsp;</DIV></DIV>
<DIV class=3Dbyln>Thursday, January 17, 2008 </DIV>
<DIV class=3Dbyln>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV class=3Dbyln><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2><A=20
href=3D"http://www.nola.com/hornets/t-p/?/base/sports-3/1200551530230120.=
xml&amp;coll=3D1">http://www.nola.com/hornets/t-p/?/base/sports-3/1200551=
530230120.xml&amp;coll=3D1</A></FONT></DIV>
<DIV class=3Dbyln>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV class=3Dbyln>
<DIV>By John Reid</DIV></DIV><B></B>
<P>Coach P.J. Carlisimo and his Seattle players had just left the Bridge =
House=20
on Tuesday, where they served food to about 75 recovering drug and =
alcohol=20
abusers. </P>
<P>It was a scheduled event as part of the NBA Cares program, where a =
number of=20
NBA visiting teams have participated in community projects in an effort =
to=20
contribute in the city's recovery from Hurricane Katrina. </P>
<P>But Carlisimo still remembered the team's last trip to New Orleans on =
Dec. 9,=20
when the team bus passed by Duncan Plaza en route to New Orleans and he =
saw=20
hundreds of tents and homeless people in the park. </P>
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<P>At the time, the deadline had not passed for the park to close and =
the=20
homeless to pack up their belongings and leave to make way for a =
construction=20
zone for the demolition of an office building adjacent to the Plaza. =
</P>
<P>"We went right by the tent city and it kind of stuck," said =
Carlisimo. "We=20
thought it would be special to do something beyond the Bridge House to =
help the=20
homeless people." </P>
<P>Because of time constraints the Sonics could not participate in a =
scheduled=20
basketball clinic after the Bridge House event, so Carlisimo had the =
team bus=20
stop at Claiborne Avenue and Canal Street, where a number of homeless =
people=20
live in tents under the I-10 overpass since Duncan Plaza was closed Dec. =
22.=20
</P>
<P>Carlisimo said they partnered with Mother's Restaurant owner Jerry =
Amato, who=20
told them about the homeless site at the Claiborne and Canal location. =
</P>
<P>Carlisimo and his 14 players unloaded boxes of food from the storage =
area=20
underneath their bus, only a few blocks from the team's upscale Canal =
Street=20
hotel. </P>
<P>"We just wanted to feed them and give them a ray of hope," rookie =
star Kevin=20
Durant said. "Just let them see that we're here for them. I think it =
kind of=20
humbled us. A lot of those people were smiling when we approached them." =
</P>
<P>Seattle SuperSonics spokesman Kurt Fedders said the players and =
Carlisimo=20
walked around with boxes, handing out food plates and water. Carlisimo =
walked on=20
both sides of the street to hand out food plates. </P>
<P>"We had enough to feed 150, and we went through it all," Fedders =
said. </P>
<P>Carlisimo got teary-eyed before Wednesday's game while talking about =
the=20
smiles he saw after giving the homeless something else to think about =
for a few=20
minutes besides their despair. </P>
<P>"The players thought it was a enjoyable experience and it worked out =
well,"=20
Carlisimo said. "It just reinforces how lucky we all are. Our guys =
contributed=20
and bought the food, and to do it quietly like the way they did made it =
even=20
better." </P>
<P>Guard Delonte West said the decision to feed the homeless was made =
not only=20
by Carlisimo, but by all of the players after they arrived in New =
Orleans early=20
Tuesday morning. </P>
<P>"I wanted to be involved to help," West said. "The most important =
thing you=20
can give is your time. They were very happy to see us and they were =
surprised.=20
It will be an experience I won't forget and they probably won't either." =
</P>
<P>. . . . . . . </P>
<P>John Reid can be reached at jreid@timespicayune.com or (504) =
826-3405.=20
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