Here as #Saints WR Chris Olave is meeting with city leadership here in New Orleans to discuss establishing a relationship with city government leaders to share his interest in lending his influence with initiatives to encourage positive outcomes in the city. pic.twitter.com/0Fz88jMKao
— Ross Jackson (@RossJacksonNOLA) July 18, 2022
The connection between the city of New Orleans and its NFL team is unique. From the catastrophic events of Hurricanes like Katrina, Ida and others well before to their efforts within the city throughout the COVID pandemic, “service” and “Saints” are synonymous. NewOrleans.Football’s Nick Underhill and I got a first-hand glimpse at the newest Saints player to lay the foundation for more engagement.
While the New Orleans connection may be one of the strongest in sports, it is not limited to the veterans that have been a part of the franchise for multiple years. On Monday, first-round draft selection Chris Olave met with city leadership to discuss ways to lend his influence as a means of impacting youth in the city. For Olave, building roots with the city and its young population is second nature.
“When I got here, I knew it was kind of big to be able to be in the community,” Olave said. “Just being in the city, the city not having the best resources but being able to have that platform and be able to be a huge part of the community is huge for me.”
Olave’s meeting with City Council President Helena Moreno and City Council Vice President Jean Paul “JP” Morrell yielded some interesting ideas, including an emphasis on girl’s sports in the city. “Oftentimes when we talk about youth sports, the girls get forgotten,” Moreno explained. “How cool would it be for you to be out there spreading awareness of girl’s sports in the city?”
Other long-standing organizations like Son of a Saint, who will celebrate the opening of their new facility in August, were also mentioned. Ultimately, what Olave will choose to do as he embarks on this journey will be seen as it unfolds. But it’s clear he wants to do more than just catch passes in New Orleans.
I asked Olave what kind of impact he’d like to see himself make five years down the road, “[I want to] just bring more togetherness,” he explained. “Have more kids going to college. Just little things. Graduating high school and staying out of trouble. That’s my main goal. Just to bring them together and put a smile on their faces.”
Olave also said that he has interest in starting his own organization someday. When that comes to fruition will be a little down the road. But the first-round draft pick isn’t going to wait until then to help make the city of New Orleans an even better place.