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USTA Commemorates Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina with Special On-Court Ceremony

August 31, 2006 09:36 AM

A special ceremony remembering and honoring the victims of Hurricane Katrina took place on Wednesday, August 30, the one year anniversary of storm’s ravaging of the Gulf Coast. The on-court ceremony was held between the two US Open night matches.

Venus Williams made a special announcement in conjunction with New Orleans City Council Vice President Arnie Fielkow, about plans for her and Serena Williams to personally visit New Orleans and play a Katrina goodwill exhibition match against each other on December 5 at the New Orleans Arena. A portion of the proceeds from the New Orleans exhibition will benefit the continuing Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.

The ceremony also included a moving video on the devastation and rebuilding of New Orleans, a musical tribute by the Children’s Choir of New Orleans, and remarks about the city’s recovery efforts.

“The USTA responded immediately to calls for support in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina,” said Franklin Johnson, USTA Chairman of the Board and President. “This support has continued throughout the year, and we encourage everyone to contribute to the ongoing efforts to help rebuild the devastated Gulf Coast region and assist those whose lives were affected by the storm.”

Last year, the USTA donated $500,000 to the American Red Cross for Hurricane Katrina relief immediately following the devastation, and US Open patrons donated an additional $62,000 to the Red Cross over the remainder of the 2005 tournament at special collection boxes throughout the site. The USTA also facilitated a number of Public Service Announcements by tennis stars that aired on CBS and USA Network during coverage of the US Open encouraging people to donate.

The USTA continues to work closely with the city of New Orleans on a number of fronts to assist in restoring tennis facilities throughout the New Orleans community. In July 2006, the USTA presented the New Orleans City Park Tennis Center with $150,000 in order to repair and renovate a number of public tennis courts. The USTA Southern Section has also provided more than $150,000 in relief support to Louisiana and Mississippi.

“I commend the USTA and the Williams sisters for their generosity and dedication to New Orleans, said Fielkow. “Their commitment to assisting the residents of New Orleans is an inspiration and a reminder to our citizens that they have not been forgotten.”




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