"Big Baby" helps with patients, children

Originally Published: September 6, 2005
By Andy Katz | ESPN.com

Glen Davis went back one more time to the triage area in the same basketball arena where he's expecting to star for LSU this season.

That's all he could take for now, one more visit. Still, going back to help, after what he saw during his first trip on Wednesday, is a valiant effort.

"I'm an emotional guy, I couldn't handle too much. I could do just what I could," said Davis, the 6-foot-9, 310-pound reigning SEC freshman of the year.

"It's such a tragedy, people everywhere, little kids, old people, it was a bad sight to see, especially for America," said Davis. "There were kids crying, patients in critical condition. I really can't explain it. You have to be here to see it."

And this is Baton Rouge, La., not New Orleans.

The LSU campus has become the staging ground for FEMA's response to the Hurricane Katrina crisis. The government is using the Pete Maravich Assembly Center as a triage center for patients, while the Carl Maddox Field House has become a shelter, sort of the second stage after patients are well enough to leave the PMAC. The Tigers' locker room space is precious land here and is being used, too.

Aid workers dominate the athletic complex. That's why it was no surprise when LSU moved its football game against Arizona State Saturday to Tempe, Ariz.

According to LSU men's basketball coach John Brady, "displaced people" were arriving as early as last Tuesday night, the day floodwaters overtook New Orleans.

"Several of our players went down to volunteer and take people off the ambulances, put cots in the Assembly Center and help the doctors with the critically ill and injured," Brady said. "[Freshmen] Tasmin Mitchell and Glen Davis were up close and personal for seven or eight hours straight. When Glen went back to his dorm room, he was so overwhelmed and emotional, he started crying. We sent Butch Pierre [an assistant] to see how he was doing.

"Glen didn't come from a lot and he's aware of those who have helped him, so he wants to help other people," Brady said.

Davis said he was trying to do as much as possible for the doctors. He said he arranged beds, held IVs for critical patients and did his fair share of just talking to the children.

"I was just trying to make them feel better about their situation," said Davis, who is from Baton Rouge and rode out the storm at his house. "I knew they would start bringing people to Baton Rouge. So I felt like I had to do something. I'm healthy enough to lend a helping hand and decided to go and volunteer."

Brady has been doing his share of good deeds, too. He said he received a pass to get into New Orleans on a few occasions to help friends check on property. He has also been helping friends relocate to Baton Rouge, get into school and begin to rebuild their lives.

"It's the most amazing thing you've ever seen," Brady said.

Fall classes started Tuesday. Brady said he planned to meet with his players to go over their individual workouts. The team will use a local high school while its facilities are being used for the relief effort.

"They're going to keep [using the facilities] until they feel like they've done what they could do," Brady said.

No one is concerned about the timetable.

"This is going to be with us for a while, but I can't even imagine what guys like Monte Towe [head coach at the University of New Orleans] are going through," Brady said. "But even they'll be playing. A smaller school like Xavier [University of Louisiana in New Orleans, an NAIA school] might not have a chance."

Brady was supposed to play Xavier in an exhibition game and clearly that game is in jeopardy. LSU also was supposed to play Tulane in the New Orleans Hornets' arena. That game likely will have to be moved to Baton Rouge, although nothing official has been decided yet.

"This has moved all of us," Brady said. "Darrel Mitchell [of St. Martinville, La.] had to go home the other day to spend some time with his folks. He said he just wanted to give his mom and dad a hug. This has been unbelievable."

Andy Katz is a senior writer for ESPN.com.

Andy Katz | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com