Usher Opens His Heart, And His Wallet For Hurricane Relief

BILOXI (WLOX) -- Beau Rivage has launched a new home buying initiative for up to 100 of its employees. Hurricane victims at the resort who qualify for the program will receive grants to rebuild what they lost.

What makes this program so unique is where some of the grant money is coming from. Grammy award winning artist Usher is doing what he can to put south Mississippi back together.

Beau Rivage President George Corchis stepped on stage, walked up to a microphone, and said, "Good morning Beau Rivage."

Somewhere in this crowd of enthusiastic employees below him were hurricane victims who somehow slipped through the cracks.

"Welcome to a very special employee rally," Corchis told the workers in his Magnolia ballroom.

It was special because this was where Beau Rivage unveiled a new home assistance initiative.

"It's specifically for employees that never received any relief from insurance or other forms of relief," he said.

Corchis said workers who qualify for the grant would be eligible for $2,500. And that would be matched two times over by his company and its partners.

To usher in the new program, Beau Rivage brought in a Grammy award winning artist and his New Look Foundation. Just before Corchis brought the artist on stage, he noted a buzz in the crowd.

"You feel the goosebumps," he laughed.

The goosebumps became shrieks when Beau Rivage's president said, "Let's bring out our new best friend, Usher."

Usher walked out in a white t-shirt and slacks. He didn't come here to sing. He came to share his hope for the hurricane battered region.

"I thank you for your spirit which continues to inspire others around the world," he told Beau Rivage's staff. "Just know that no matter where I am, I will continue to make this relief a priority."

Ever since Katrina, Usher has pledged his support and his star power to hurricane victims around the region.

"My dedication as a humanitarian, as a creator of a vision through New Look actually comes to life when there is a tragedy like Katrina," he said.

Corchis saw that dedication in meetings with the entertainer two years ago.

"He believes in this area," the president said.

Through Usher's foundation, more than 750 families have already received rent and utility assistance. Now, by joining forces with Beau Rivage on this housing initiative, the New Look Foundation touches more lives. And that accomplishment gives Usher a feeling he can't get on stage.

"In life we work hard. But when it's heart work, it makes all the difference," he said.

Besides Usher and his New Look Foundation, the Beau Rivage is working with Visions of Hope, Fannie Mae and Trustmark Bank to make its home replacement assistance available.