More than 530 guests gathered under the vintage military aircraft adorning the National WWII Museum in New Orleans Friday, March 11, to honor Coast Guard members. The Coast Guard Foundation’s Tribute to the Eighth Coast Guard District event recognized Coast Guard Sector New Orleans for the unit’s response to historic Hurricane Ida, which devastated a large swath of the Gulf Coast August 29, 2021.
When it made landfall near Port Fourchon, Louisiana, the storm’s 150 mile an hour winds, rain, and surge caused widespread damage and power and water outages impacting more than one million residents of Southeast Louisiana. It also caused catastrophic impacts to the Port of New Orleans, the largest tonnage port in the United States and the third-largest in the world.
In the immediate aftermath, Coast Guard members from Sector New Orleans saved 12 lives and assisted 412 others. They also reacted to 11 major marine casualties and coordinated the response to 2,495 pollution cases, 273 destroyed or damaged vessels, and 406 aids to navigation that were knocked out of commission.
Working with industry, federal, state, and local partners, the 17 units and 1,190 military, civilian, and auxiliary members of Sector New Orleans partially opened the heavily damaged waterways of the Lower Mississippi in only three days and fully opened them in less than a week.
The Foundation also honored the memory of longtime board member and marine transportation executive Otto Candies, Jr., who died in February 2021. Candies started the Coast Guard Foundation’s New Orleans event with fellow board member Boysie Bollinger and served as the dinner chairman for most of its history. Since 1994 the event has raised more than $9 million for Foundation programs that support Coast Guard members.
“When you assist people during the most difficult times in their lives, either after a death or after witnessing their homes being destroyed, you can’t help but be transformed by the experience,” said Coast Guard Foundation President Susan Ludwig. “We take our jobs seriously and our support personally,” she continued while thanking the evening’s sponsors.
The Foundation is thankful for the generous support of dinner sponsor Bollinger Shipyards, and reception sponsors Cheniere Energy, Harvey Gulf International Marine, and Otto Candies, LLC, as well all who sponsored the dinner, which raised more than $770,000 for programs that assist Coast Guard members and families nationwide.