Although Hurricane Laura, a category 4 hurricane, spared New Orleans, it did hit the coast of Louisiana west of the city hard causing wide-spread destruction, and forcing many to evacuate to New Orleans. So WDSU stepped up and organized a telethon to raise funds to feed the hungry victims. “Our community knows how devastating it can be to lose everything in a hurricane,” said Joel Vilmenay, WDSU’s general manager.
At 3 o’clock in the morning in New Orleans, drivers lined up to receive free school supplies from WDSU, Hearst’s NBC affiliate there, as part of the station’s Student Connection School Supply Drive, even though the start time wasn’t until 9.
The donations included $100,000 from Sean Payton, the New Orleans Saints head coach. “During times like these, it is not only our duty but our privilege to join in and help our community,” said Joel Vilmenay, WDSU’s general manager.
My first job at a TV station was as a writer/producer in promotions at WDSU. Then, in 1988, the station was located in the French Quarter. The historic building stretched an entire block from Royal to Chartres streets. The front entrance sat in a beautiful courtyard, said to be the most photographed in the city.
The donations collected will go toward food, water and cleaning supplies for families as they reclaim their homes from Hurricane Michael. “This city knows how devastating it can be to lose everything,” said Joel Vilmenay, WDSU’s general manager.