Wide receiver Javon Walker today issued a public plea to help locate his grandparents and two of his uncles. They reside along the Gulf Coast in Moss Point, Miss., near Biloxi. That area as well as the area where Bonita Favre's house is located near the Bay of St. Louis took the brunt of the storm.
"My mom got to a point where they're starting to panic a little bit because they can't find them," Walker said. "They've been trying to reach them for the last couple of days, but haven't heard any answers."
Walker's parents live in Moss Point, Miss., as well as his grandparents who are in their 90s. Lucille, Paul Jr., Paul Sr., and Earl Goldsmith live in Moss Point, about a 15-minute drive from Biloxi, Miss., in normal conditions.
The natural disaster, the worst Hurricane to hit the South since Camille in 1969, has made it tough to focus on football for those on the team whose families were directly affected by the storm on Monday and Tuesday.
Linebacker Ray Thompson and many members of his family live in New Orleans, which is currently being evacuated because of flooding. Thompson is very concerned because he has yet to contact his mother. He has reached his uncle, but communicating is difficult because most phone lines are down.
"I'm just waiting. That's all I can do," he said. "It's frustrating."
At one point, an exasperated Thompson walked away from the media interviewing him after the team's walkthrough practice today in the Don Hutson Center.
Thompson's brother and two of his cousins left the city, but a trip to Texas took nine hours because of traffic congestion. He has reached his uncle by phone but not his mother.
Running back Walt Williams feel like he and his family "dodged a tremendous bullet." Williams resides in Baton Rouge, La., and some members of his family live in New Orleans, but they evacuated to Williams' home before the storm hit.
Like Favre, Thompson and Walker, Williams found it very difficult to focus on football earlier in the week because of the uncertainty back home. He said there is a sense of relief knowing that his family is OK, which hopefully will make it easier for him to make the final roster.
"It definitely takes a lot of the burden off me," Williams said. "At the beginning of the week, I was so focused on what was going to happen, it was kind of hard to concentrate on plays. At this level of play, you can't have any degree of separation, so it was tough to be out here. I was doing the best I could do."
Favre urged those in a position to help hurricane victims to contribute food, water, ice, and generators to those in need. Favre sent a truckload of food and water to his home in Hattiesburg, Miss., to aid his immediate family. He has ordered the driver of the truck to go as far south of Hattiesburg in the next day or two and distribute more food and generators. Favre said about 50 people are staying at his home in Hattiesburg. His mother Bonita and other immediate family members are staying at his brother's house near Kiln, Miss.
"They have nowhere to go," Favre said. "You can't drive to McDonald's and get a bisquit because there is nothing there."
The National Football League will donate $1 million to the American Red Cross to assist victims of Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf Coast region that includes Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, Commissioner Paul Tagliabue announced Wednesday.
The NFL and its clubs are working on other initiatives to assist in the relief effort, Commissioner Tagliabue added