Former New Orleans Saint Scott Fujita is headed to the Cleveland Browns and a lucrative new contract he certainly earned as a member of the Black and Gold, but he left us with a parting gift. As a gesture of devotion to his adopted state of the last fouryears, Fujita donated half of his $82,000 Super Bowl-winning paycheck to charity. More than half that amount — $25,000 — he split equally between two organizations whose focus is restoring Louisiana’s vanishing and fragile coast: America’s WETLAND Foundation and the Gulf Restoration Network. Fujita came to the Saints before the 2006 season, along with quarterback Drew Brees and head coach Sean Payton. We hate to see him go, but his gesture underscored Payton’s formula for building a winning team: sign good players who are also good people.
If you ate oysters recently and you’re feeling a bit queasy, you aren’t alone. Nearly 40 people were sickened after eating oysters last month, which has caused the largest closure of the state’s oyster beds in a decade. The Times-Picayune reports that oyster harvesting grounds in St. Bernard, Plaquemines and parts of Lafourche and Jefferson parishes have been closed for the past two weeks. Meanwhile state health officials have been searching for the source of the disease, Norovirus, which causes fever, chills, aches, nausea and diarrhea that can last up to two days. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that the problem doesn’t spread west to Acadiana’s oyster beds.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency may still be experiencing a bit of institutional guilt over its handling of the Katrina disaster five years ago. Floodsmart.gov, an elaborate, bells-and-whistles Web site for FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program, encourages Americans to purchase flood insurance by detailing past flood damage in every county in the United States since 1993. But the site shows $0 damage in Orleans Parish in 2005, the year of Katrina. We seem to recall a little flooding in the Crescent City following the hurricane. At the same time, the NFIP’s own records show it has paid more than $23 billion in claims for 17 tropical systems over the last decade. Out of sight out of mind?