Super Bowl weekend in New Orleans is much more than a football game. Just ask Bernard Robertson, a 2001 Tulane graduate and a former Green Wave football player. Robertson along with other representatives of the National Football League Players Association and the Home Builders Association of Greater New Orleans will be participating in a ribbon-cutting on Friday (Feb. 1) for three new homes in the hard-hit, Katrina-ravaged neighborhood of the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans.
Tulane graduate and former NFL player Bernard Robertson, left, speaks to a CBS Sports crew about the progress in building Touchdown for Homes in New Orleans. Three homes are now completed in the Lower Ninth Ward, and a ribbon-cutting is scheduled for Super Bowl weekend. (Photo from Touchdown for Homes)
The construction of the three homes, with more planned, is a Touchdown for Homes
collaboration between the NFLPA and the National Home Builders Association. The energy-efficient homes were built in less than two months by professional homebuilders but with hands-on assistance from former NFL players.
Students from the nonprofit training program Homebuilders Institute of New Orleans also did wiring, carpentry and heating/air conditioning work on the homes as part of their education in construction skills.
Robertson says, “As a native New Orleanian, this project has been overwhelmingly gratifying. It has not only nourished my quest to give back to my community, but it has educated me on the development and construction process, and how to deliver on the needs of the community from a political standpoint.”
Robertson has worked in tandem with the builders and his NFLPA New Orleans board for more than a year to develop a master plan, secure the properties, meet with local residents and community groups, fundraise and collaborate on the partnerships.
Robertson played for the NFL Chicago Bears and Buffalo Bills. Since 2007, he has served as the president of the NFLPA Former Players Chapter in New Orleans.
Jon Luther, executive vice president of HBAGNO, says, “Bernard and his guys have been an absolute joy to work with, and we’ve got more in store beyond the Super Bowl.”