Shaquille O'Neal and Reggie Bush have accomplished a lot on the court and on the field, respectively. And now they're putting their efforts toward helping to rebuild a city.
The two prominent athletes will welcome NBA All-Star Weekend attendees to New Orleans by hosting "Welcome to New Orleans," an event from which all proceeds will benefit several charities in the Big Easy, including A Child's Wish, the Father T Foundation, and Habitat for Humanity.
The Big Easy Billiards Bash & After Party will be held on Friday, February 15, 2008 at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside Grand Ballroom. In the midst of the usual NBA All-Star glitz, it promises to be the weekend's hottest party, and it's all for a great cause.
A former LSU graduate and future Hall of Famer, O'Neal holds Louisiana close to his heart. He showed that immediately following Hurricane Katrina by personally going down to the city's ravaged areas and collecting everything from furniture, toiletries, clothes and other items to help storm victims.
Bush's commitment to the city was evident shortly after he was drafted by the New Orleans Saints. Not only has he personally donated thousands of dollars to the community, but he has also urged his national sponsors to join in.
"This is a great city with great people," said Bush. "With the corporate and media attention that New Orleans will get during the NBA All-Star game, I wanted to make sure that there was a focus on helping the people that will be here when the parties and games are over. We're hoping that companies see this as a fun way to get involved with the progress that is happening here. From sponsoring a team to simply making a charitable donation, there are many ways for people to make a difference."
Red carpet arrivals will begin at 6:30 pm. The Big Easy Billiards Bash taking place from 7-10:30 pm and will feature live music, food, drinks, and a two-on-two pool tournament in which teams of celebrities will take on corporate teams for a chance to win great prizes. A live auction will follow the tournament and will include one-of-a-kind items and experiences.
"This whole weekend is about people being in New Orleans for New Orleans," said O'Neal. "We wanted to show people coming together, celebrating what has been done and remembering that there's still a lot to do. We also wanted to provide a way for people to contribute to what is happening here with the confidence that their money will get to the people who need it."
The after party will directly follow the Billiards Bash in an adjoining ballroom; it will be spun by DJ Reach and will feature entertainment from some of the country's hottest performers.
New Orleans is a city with a culture, spirit, and liveliness that make it unique from any other place. Much attention was focused on rebuilding the city following Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, but now, two and a half years later, many people have forgotten that the city is still in dire need of help. Funding for local charities & organizations has diminished significantly since the initial hurricane cleanup efforts.
The 619 Fund is a 501(c)3 organization, founded by Reggie Bush, which focuses on contributing to various causes in the New Orleans area. Its mission is to raise funds for local organizations.
You can make a big difference in New Orleans. For more information, visit www.bigeasybilliardsbash.com or call 314-291-1880.