A conversation with Oliver Celestin

New York Jets safety Oliver Celestin is a native of New Orleans and has been adversely affected by Hurricane Katrina. Football has become his crutch through the grueling process that has him worried about his family throughout the south.

How has your family come through the Hurricane?

Oliver Celestin: My immediate family is good. They evacuated before the storm hit. There is other family I haven't talked to yet, we haven't located yet. Hopefully when the phone lines open, they will be able to contact us, and we can make sure everybody is okay.

Do you have relatives that were housed in the Superdome?

Oliver Celestin: The relatives that stayed in the city, we have no idea where they are right now.

How many people in your family are unaccounted for right now?

Oliver Celestin: At least three to four families. We haven't talked to any of them yet.

How hard has it been to concentrate on football?

Oliver Celestin: It's been tough, but to be honest football is what I've been leaning on. My teammates have helped me get through it. Being in meeting rooms has helped me take my mind off of it. My main thing now is not to have too much free time because it is hurting me inside.

How big is your immediate family, and where are they now?

Oliver Celestin: I have two older sisters, my mom, my dad, my nephew and brother-in-law they went to Houston, and they are in a hotel right now.

You have to be relieved that they made the decision to get out before the storm hit?

Oliver Celestin: It was hard at first because my mom didn't want to leave town. We had to talk her into it. I'm glad they left town, but right now all our focus is trying to find the rest of our relatives, and make sure everybody is good.

What part of New Orleans are you from?

Oliver Celestin: I'm from the West Bank. That didn't flood. But my sister is from the East Bank, and her home is ruined. I have an Aunt that we haven't located yet, cousins, we have located yet. They all stayed on the East Bank, the area that flooded. Most of the family on the East Bank are the ones we are waiting to here from. I know they didn't leave town. Hopefully they made it to some kind of safe area.

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