Tuesday, the NCAA joined the New Orleans Local Organizing Committee (LOC) for the 2022 NCAA Men’s Final Four - led by Tulane University, the University of New Orleans and the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation - along with the New Orleans School of Cooking to assist in Hurricane Ida relief efforts in St. John the Baptist Parish.
Members of the NCAA and their Corporate Champions and Partners, along with local volunteers, prepared and packaged hot meals provided by the New Orleans School of Cooking and distributed supplies including baby wipes, diapers and cases of donated Coca-Cola product to residents at the Regala Gym in Reserve. The group, along with St. John the Baptist Parish President Jaclyn Hotard, State Representative Randal L. Gaines and State Senator Ed Price, toured the city of LaPlace for a glimpse into a community still reeling from the effects of Hurricane Ida.
"I want to thank the NCAA staff and partners, the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation, and the New Orleans School of Cooking for their vested interest and support in helping St. John during this difficult time,” said Parish President Jaclyn Hotard. “It is truly an honor to partner with these valuable organizations as we work together to provide much needed supplies and meals to residents as they recover from Hurricane Ida.”
“The New Orleans School of Cooking is proud to partner with the NCAA in this wonderful community outreach effort,” said Suzanne Leighton, co-owner of the New Orleans School of Cooking. “Everyone knows food is an important part of the culture here and sharing these meals can bring a sense of normalcy to the area when it is so needed and welcomed.”
The volunteer event took place during the NCAA’s visit to New Orleans in preparation for the 2022 NCAA Men’s Final Four, which will be hosted at the Caesars Superdome on April 2 and 4. As the city plans to hold its first major sporting event since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, members of the NCAA and the Local Organizing Committee are committed to investing in the community that is so graciously hosting this exciting event next spring.
“When we work with a Final Four city, such as New Orleans, we want to help with local needs in addition to bringing an NCAA championship to the area, so providing our time and our efforts around a city that has been severely impacted by a hurricane is a goal,” said JoAn Scott, NCAA managing director, men’s basketball. “We plan to work with the New Orleans Local Organizing Committee and other local entities to host a top-notch basketball championship in 2022. However, we also take into account the local human and community needs when we bring our championship events to the city.”
“The 2022 Men’s Final Four has come at an important time for New Orleans and Louisiana,” said Local Organizing Committee Co-Chair Paul Valteau. “As our state continues to face the effects from the Coronavirus pandemic and major hurricanes, we’re looking forward to this tournament bringing not only a positive economic impact but also a reason to celebrate our state that has been through so much.”
New Orleans is no stranger to hosting world-class sporting events. Local organizations will lean on their unmatched experience and resources to create a remarkable National Championship week, while generating substantial economic impact and positive media exposure for the State of Louisiana and City of New Orleans.
“We’re grateful for the NCAA and their partners for their commitment to helping Louisiana communities ahead of the Final Four,” LOC Co-Chair David Sherman said. “Working together today has heightened the anticipation for April and the opportunity to welcome visitors back to New Orleans.”
Officially awarded the tournament in November of 2016, the LOC has been working diligently to coordinate event details with the NCAA. Leading up to April, the LOC co-chairs, host institutions and staff will continue to work closely with the NCAA, the State of Louisiana, the City of New Orleans, ASM Global, New Orleans and Company and the Morial Convention Center to ensure the success of the Final Four and its ancillary events.
In 2012, the NCAA Final Four drew more than 75,000 out of town visitors to New Orleans, accounted for more than 125,000 hotel room nights and generated an economic impact of $168 million. Additionally, the television broadcast of all three games drew a combined audience of more than 50 million viewers.