So much of Jordan Babineaux’s life has been associated with football. It can all be traced back to Port Arthur.
“It’s the birthplace of football. I like to tell people (that it) is Texas, but I’m a little biased when I say that,” says the 35-year-old, former Seahawks safety.
Babineaux grew up in a large family with a brother who also went on to play in the NFL. He credits his hometown and its hard-scrabble surroundings for his success, which includes nine years in the NFL.
“Overall, Port Arthur is a city that has framed me into the person I am," he said.
It’s also where his mother, Barbara, and sister still live. His aunts and cousins live in Port Arthur too. This week, they all had to be rescued by boat, after the city’s mayor said the entire city was underwater.
“(They) were taken to a location, to wait on a bus, to take them to another location,” said Babineaux, “My friend's mom was lifted by a helicopter and taken to a hospital.”
The stories go on and on, says Jordan.
“Physically my family is safe. Emotionally, they’re hurting.”
It’s why he’s now trying to raise money for his hometown, with a promise to visit in the coming hours. The man, affectionately known in Seattle as “Big Play Babs” for his playing days, is now trying to tackle another challenge.
He’s established a Port Arthur relief fund and donated the first $5,000. It has already doubled, with an eye on raising $100,000.
“Many people don’t have the luxury we have, to go to the sink get hot water. We really take that for granted,” he said.
The city of a little more than 50,000, with a median household income of less than $40,000, already had its challenges. There is an even bigger one ahead.
“Let’s look ahead to month three, month six, year 1, month 18. when it's time to rebuild the community, and re-establish places for people to live,” said Babineaux. “The road ahead is going to be a journey.”