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Remembering Katrina

When the preseason schedule came out, it seemed only fitting that the Texans would square off with the Saints on the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

The storm changed the lives of so many and had a lasting impact on the Texans organization.

The final Texans preseason game that year was in Tampa, a few days after the storm devastated the Gulf Coast. The Texans decided to hold a telethon and radiothon during the broadcasts to raise money for Katrina victims.

Bob and Janice McNair stepped up to match gifts, up to one million dollars. Texans employees and sponsors worked the phones as fans made donations. The total was 2.7 million dollars. Texans President Jamey Rootes said it was a case of "magical things coming together."

I called the game in Tampa and promoted the radiothon. It was strange to be doing a broadcast knowing that hundreds of busses of evacuees were on their way to the Astrodome that night.

We got back to the stadium around 2 am and it seemed like broad daylight around NRG Park. People were everywhere trying to get a breath of fresh air before going to the dome for the night. Remember, most of them had traveled five hours from their last temporary home, the Superdome.

In the ensuing days, the entire city of Houston stepped up, of course. But for the Texans it was also a unique time of giving.

"Our response to the impact of Hurricane Katrina established a norm for the organization, that in times of need Texans come together to help others." said Rootes.

Ten years have passed. New Orleans is certainly 'back' but in so many ways, still recovering. The Texans and Saints meet almost every preseason. Dozens of thousands of New Orleans natives still call Houston home.

The two cities are forever linked.

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