Brandin Cooks, Mercedes-Benz hit Home Run by honoring local heroes


Brandin Cooks spent his Monday evening honoring three local New Orleans heroes for their efforts and contributions to help the city ‘rebirth’ after the events of Hurricane Katrina.

Since 2005, the Mercedes-Benz Superdome has seen numerous emotional and jaw dropping moments that have helped strengthen the New Orleans community and unite the region in a magical way. After a full decade, Mercedes-Benz teamed up with the New Orleans Saints to reflect on some of the great plays, players and people who have made the city and team 10 Years Stronger. Earlier this season, Steve Gleason was honored during a halftime ceremony for his iconic punt block, commonly known as ‘Rebirth’.

Brandin Cooks partnered with Mercedes-Benz to help deliver three brand new vehicles to local heroes Vickie Leleu, William Stoudt, and Pastor Fred Luter Jr.

New Orleans Saints Wide Receiver Brandin Cooks surprises three local heroes with new Mercedes-Benz vehicles for the brand’s 10 Years Stronger initiative at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Monday, Nov. 23, 2015 in New Orleans, La.

Luter (pictured left) began the painstaking process of trying to locate his members and get them home after Hurricane Katrina flooded Franklin Avenue Baptist Church and displaced his congregation. On April 6th, 2008, Luter and his congregation moved back into their newly re-built sanctuary. Many in his congregation said had it not been for his selflessness and inspirational leadership, they would have been unable to come home and begin restoring their lives.

Leleu (pictured next to Luter) was a Family Social Worker at the CCANO Incarnate Word Head Start Program.  The center closed due to extensive damage from the storm, but that did not deter her from trying to make a difference in the community. Leleu worked two important case management programs that enabled residents to recover: Katrina Aid Today and Louisiana Family Recovery Corp.

Stoudt (pictured right), who was 17 years old during the aftermath of Katrina, wanted to make a difference. However, Stoudt was told he was too young to participate in the relief efforts. That didn’t stop him. In 2005, he started the non-profit Youth Rebuilding New Orleans with fellow classmates from Jesuit High School. Since 2005, the youth-driven program has helped more than 300 homeowners, with assistance from thousands of volunteers.

These three heroes are shining examples of the ultimate resiliency of the community affected by a very devastating event. New Orleans rebounded in a huge way after Hurricane Katrina, and the long-term impact of those efforts continue to be felt even today.