Nicholls Receives Donation from Shell and the Bayou Community Foundation

The students of Nicholls State University are still seeing the effects of Hurricane Ida in their lives, but those effects aren’t being ignored by the supportive community around them. According to this news feature from the University itself, over $75,000 has been awarded to Nicholls so that affected students and their families can be supported many months after the storm has passed.  In total, both Shell and the Bayou Community Foundation have awarded Nicholls State University with a $77,760 reward to help with Hurricane Ida recovery efforts.

Colette Hirstius, Shell’s senior vice president for the Gulf of Mexico, had spoken on the long-lasting relationship between the company and the Louisiana community. She said, “The Bayou Region has been home to Shell for over 100 years and it was important to us to be able to help provide a home for Colonels and their families who lost theirs to the devastation of Hurricane Ida. We are grateful and proud to be able to provide safe, stable housing so that these students can stay in school and focus on their futures.”

Nicholls has reported that the funds will be utilized to meet the needs of students and families who have been displaced from their houses by Hurricane Ida. The funds will be used in a variety of ways, with a considerably large portion being used to provide temporary housing, address food insecurity, and give families basic living essentials like clothing, toiletries, medications, school supplies, and so much more. After the funds were awarded, processed, and tallied, it was announced that the money will cover the housing, meals, and living expenses for at least 20 students and their families, thus providing much-needed support in such unsure times.

The executive director of the Bayou Community Foundation, Jennifer Armand, said of the awarded funds, “Nicholls State University responded quickly after Hurricane Ida to provide temporary housing and meals to students, faculty and staff who lost so much during the storm. The Bayou Community Foundation is pleased to partner with Shell to support all of these important relief efforts.”

The Bayou Community Foundation, which was originally created in 2012, is the only community foundation that is specifically designed to solely serve Lafourche Parish, Terrebonne Parish, and Grand Isle, Louisiana. The Foundation was started after local leaders saw the continuing effects on the surrounding community following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita as well as the 2010 Gulf Oil Spill. “Local leaders recognized the need for a community foundation to strengthen human services, education/workforce development, and coastal preservation efforts in our area, as well as to serve as “the community bucket” for national and international assistance in the event of a future emergency or natural disaster,” according to

As many are aware, Hurricane Ida made its landfall on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina in August of 2021, and Ida’s turbulent winds and powerful storm surges had made it so that an estimated 25 percent of homes in Lafourche and Terrebonne Parish were destroyed or deemed uninhabitable. As a result, approximately two-thirds of the Nicholls State University community had reported that their homes had sustained damage from the storm, and one-in-five students reported their homes to be destroyed or uninhabitable.

The above estimates are only a small piece of the massive effects left behind by this storm as they only focus on living conditions. Many members in the Nicholls community saw access to reliable income, transportation, and much, much more disrupted by Ida, which is why this donation of over $75,000 from Shell and the Bayou Community Foundation is appreciated months after the storm.

Dr. Jay Clune, president of Nicholls State University, remarked on the donation with the following words, “many of our students and their families have literally lost the roof over their heads with estimates of weeks, months, and even longer for recovery and rebuilding efforts to truly take shape in the hardest-hit communities. Without the generosity and support of partners such as Shell and BCF, it would be impossible for Nicholls to enact our vision to be the intellectual, economic and cultural heart of the Bayou Region.” To donate towards the efforts of the Bayou Community Foundation’s Hurricane Ida Relief, click here.

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Pelicans Donate to Nicholls for Hurricane Relief

Always a celebrated component of Louisiana athletics, the New Orleans Pelicans recently showed their support for their neighboring communities by donating $100,000 to Nicholls State University for hurricane relief, according to the school.

The large donation, which was announced by the team at an open practice held on Nicholls campus, is set to help members of the larger Nicholls community recover from the devastating Hurricane Ida after a majority of the service region of the university was affected by the August 29th storm. As a result of Ida’s damaging winds and floodwaters, many student-athletes were dispersed across the country to several states where they gathered at host universities to practice for the upcoming athletic season.

Despite the many challenges they faced, these student-athletes kept the competitive spirit of Colonel athletics alive and remained focused in these new settings. One Sports Illustrated article recounted how the coaching staff of the Nicholls State Colonels men’s basketball team secured temporary homes for 16 players and coaches to sleep, eat, and practice amid damages sustained in the parish.

Coach Austin Claunch told Kevin Sweeney of SI, “let’s see if we can get somewhere quickly, and we can make it like a 2–3 week training camp and really benefit from it, almost like a team retreat,” showing the optimism of Nicholls’ coaching staff in the face of disaster.

The $100,000 donated by the New Orleans Pelicans will help to counterbalance some of the unexpected costs that the university had experienced to keep their athletic teams working and practicing together in Ida’s aftermath.

Dr. Jay Clune, President of Nicholls State University, said of the gift from the NBA organization, “we are so grateful for generous partners like the New Orleans Pelicans for coming to our aid in a time of need. This donation will benefit not only student-athletes, but also many of our students who lost homes in this storm. This will help so many students continue to succeed in the face of adversity.”

The announcement of the donation was made public as the New Orleans Pelicans held their annual open practice on Saturday, October 16 at the David R. Stopher Gymnasium, which is located on the campus of Nicholls State University. The open practice offered Pelicans fans a first-hand opportunity to get an inside look at the 2021-2022 team and to show their support for the South Louisiana communities that were directly impacted by Hurricane Ida.

Tickets for the event were primarily limited to schools and organizations located in Lafourche and Terrebonne Parishes that were directly affected by Ida with a particular focus on local high school basketball teams, first responders and youth-centered organizations. Tickets were distributed by the Nicholls State University Athletic Department, who distributed available tickets on behalf of the Pelicans.

Pelicans Governor, Gayle Benson, said of the event, “as South Louisiana continues to rebuild after the devastation caused by Hurricane Ida, our organization remains steadfast on providing resources to help these impacted communities recover. Our players, coaches, and staff could not be more excited to show our support for South Louisiana and put on a great show at open practice. I also want to thank Nicholls State University for graciously opening their facilities and hosting this event.”

Specifically, when speaking about the Pelicans’ donation to Nicholls, team governor Gayle Benson said, “it brings thePelicans family great joy to contribute to the Nicholls State University hurricane relief fund. Our partners at Nicholls did a fabulous job of hosting our open practice this past weekend and we are appreciative of the hurricane relief work their team is doing to help support students in the community. We must continue to support those impacted by Hurricane Ida’s destruction.”

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