Benefit concert 'plays it back' for hurricane victims

Almost 200 people died because of Irma, Maria, and Harvey, and countless others are still trying to rebuild.

NEW ORLEANS, La. - For the first time ever, three Category 4 hurricanes hit the United States and Puerto Rico in the same year. Almost 200 people died because of Irma, Maria, and Harvey, and countless others are still trying to rebuild. Which is why New Orleans is lending a helping hand.

The stage was set at Generations Hall Wednesday.

"It's going to be a really fun time," said event co-founder, Armando Leduc.

Lights were on, music was playing, and attendees were grooving to the beat.

"I'm going to be enjoying the food and the music for sure," said Mary Taylor, who came from Gulf Port to enjoy the concert. 

The event had a special name with one very special purpose.

"It's all about paying it back which is why we're calling it, 'Playing it Back,'" said Leduc.

"A lot of people don't have a support, so any support they can get is great," said James Taylor.

It's a cause people here locally want to help support.

"We're just trying to give back what we actually got back after Katrina," said co-founder, Bethany Lemanski.

"I've got family in Puerto Rico right now who are struggling, so I know first-hand what's up," said Leduc. "Also, I've been through Katrina as well and came back after the storm to help rebuild."

During hurricanes Harvey, Maria, and Irma, the Cajun Navy and Junior League of New Orleans helped hundreds. Now weeks later, they're still giving aid to those neighborhoods. However, the two organizations are seeing a lack of funds and supplies.

"Whatever is appropriate," said Cajun Navy President, Shawn Boudreaux. "Toys for the kids if it's Christmas time that we get this done. Or whatever it's going to be, what the community needs at that time, we're going to work with them and figure it out."

"The statistic is one in three families can't afford clean diapers for their children," said Kristen Koppel, President of Junior League New Orleans. "The need is great and it's events like this that allow us to raise money and help us make an even bigger impact on the community."

So as the music played, attendees opened their hearts, giving back with a message to let hurricane victims know New Orleans is here to support them and pay it back.

"People always need things to pick up their spirits," said Taylor.

"It gets better, and we are shining examples of that here in New Orleans," said Lemanski.

If someone couldn't make the event Wednesday night, there's still time to donate. Go to PlayingItBack.org for more.

© 2017 WWL-TV


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