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Drew Brees saw the Lusher community cleaning up after Katrina, the rest is history

For 15 years Drew Brees and his family have worked close with those at Lusher

NEW ORLEANS — Brees may have been an outstanding football player, but it was the work he did off the field that really had people cheering.

Since coming to the city, he's helped with so many organizations and schools. Those at Lusher say they'll always be grateful for his help.

"It's invaluable," said Frank Israel, Director of Operations and Development at Lusher. "With his generosity and good spirit, we've done a lot more than we'd be able to do without him."

Brees' partnership with Lusher started 15 years ago. People were outside cleaning up the campus after Katrina. Brees saw the workers outside and asked how he could help.

"He and his wife were driving by and noticed the work the crowd was doing outside," Israel remembered. "So, he just stopped to see what was happening."

He has since funded the school's weight room and helped install the "Brees Family Field," which some see as a sign of hope after so much was taken away.

"A symbol of looking to the future," said Louis Landrum Jr., the school's athletic director. "It had a tremendous impact on our school, it benefited our athletic program, no question about it."

Landrum also says it was the smaller moments a lot of people will cherish the most.

"I can recall my time being a football coach here, it was the first year we were going to playoffs," he remembered. "Drew just hopped in after one of our practice sessions before we headed out of town and offered some words of encouragement. He didn't announce he was coming; he didn't have a fan of media surrounding him, it was just him and the guys and to me that was important and genuine and unique in his own way."

The work Brees did at Lusher has been so special.

"The most important thing it's a great role model to our students," Israel said.

And while to any Saints fan he'll be number nine, the work and dedication he's shown the community, has no doubt made him number one in the hearts of so many.

"He loves New Orleans, he loves his family, and he loves his community," Landrum said. "I know from the Lusher standpoint, we're very appreciative of his generosity."

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