Midstate men raise money for victims of New Orleans tornadoes

Posted at 6:40 PM, Apr 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-02 14:23:09-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Two midstate men — who grew up in the St. Bernard Parish near New Orleans — are raising money to help victims of the March 22 deadly tornadoes.

Carlyn Perez and Warren Bondi are both business owners in the area.

Perez brings fresh seafood, including crawfish, to Nashville through his company Southcoast Seafood, and Bondi owns a beer marketing company called Beer Marketeer.

The two paired up for a fundraiser at Fait La Force Brewing in south Nashville after seeing their hometown was struck by a devastating EF-3 tornado.

Both men were here when deadly tornadoes raked through Middle Tennessee on March 3, 2020. They both were in Chalmette, Louisiana, when Hurricane Katrina hit. But Bondi has first-hand experience with tornadoes himself. His house was hit in the December tornado outbreak.

Their connection to disasters — plus a past of their own — brought them together for a fundraiser to help their hometown.

They're selling crawfish and beer to donate money to Red Beans, a south Louisiana disaster help nonprofit group.

"A lot of my friends are out there helping. A couple has donated not only their time, but also their business resources, dump trucks, and excavators to clear the roads. I definitely felt obligated to do something," said Perez.

Bondi also felt that obligation, especially since so many people helped him when his home was heavily damaged by a tornado.

"At that time we couldn't help out because we were obviously knee-deep in it ourselves," said Bondi. "When this happened, my mom called me and she was crying and she was shocked. She had never seen what a tornado could do and how spotty it was."

The fundraiser runs Friday until 9 p.m. On Saturday, they're operating from noon to 6 p.m. Fait La Force Brewing is located at 1414 3rd Ave. South in Nashville.

In another coincidental connection, the pair met at the University of New Orleans years ago. Their families have been connected through Perez's supply of seafood from the family farm for 30 years. Bondi said his relatives have a seafood restaurant in the parish.

Both men moved to the Nashville area without knowing the other had. They were connected after the December tornadoes, and now collaborate to support their home town.

They hope they can raise about $5,000 for Red Bean.

"We hope that a lot of people come out," said Perez. "Obviously, this is for a good cause. We're super proud to be able to do this. We're blessed to be able to do this. If we sell out, that's what we believe means we have contributed to the cause."