Hoda Kotb’s heart is with the people of Louisiana.
The “Today Show” anchor, who lived in New Orleans for six years in the 90s while working at the local news station, became emotional while talking with Drew Brees about how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting her old stomping grounds.
Earlier this week, Brees and his wife, Brittany, announced they were donating $5 million to the state and its people, whose livelihood has been heavily impacted by the virus.
Prior to their donation, The New York Times reported Louisiana was seeing the fastest coronavirus growth globally, largely because of Mardi Gras.
It has taken quite a toll on the economy as much of the state “thrives on small businesses,” the New Orleans Saints quarterback said.
“We’re a hospitality state, and so many people have been affected by this around the country but especially in New Orleans. So when Brittany and I think about one of New Orleans’ [residents’] basic needs, that is to make sure that they and their family are fed and they can continue to sustain. So that’s where we wanted to start.”
The athlete compared the situation in New Orleans to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
His offered advice to the residents affected: “Hang in there and maintain hope. Obviously, we’ve been through a lot of tough times together. Whether it’s hurricanes, oil spills, floods, and this is just another one of those bits of adversity that we’re going to come out better on the other side.”
After the call, Kotb’s broke down crying as her co-anchor, Savannah Guthrie, took over the segment and offered words of comfort: “I know where your heart is, my dear, I do.”
Brees and his wife revealed they were partnering with “Second Harvest Food Bank, Ochsner Health Systems, Walk-Ons, Jimmy Johns, Smalls Sliders and Waitr to prepare and deliver over 10,000 meals per day throughout Louisiana for as long as it takes to children on meal programs, seniors, and families in need. Let’s all do our part, maintain hope, and get through this together.”
The U.S now leads with the most coronavirus cases in the world inching out China and Italy.