Bobby Hebert Sr., Erin Hebert, Myles Brennan

Bobby Hebert Sr., Erin Hebert and Myles Brennan.

Bobby Hebert Sr. would have wanted a traditional funeral. 

His granddaughter, Erin Hebert, is sure of that. She believed the church would have been packed with people to celebrate the life of her grandfather, with lines stretching out the doors.

"That's how loved he was," she said.

But spring 2020 isn't a normal time for anyone.

Hebert Sr. died March 28 at age 81 after testing positive with coronavirus at a medical center in Kenner.

And instead of having that traditional funeral, fewer than 10 members of the Hebert family congregated for his burial ceremony in Cut Off.

"That's not how my grandpa would have wanted it, by any means," Erin Hebert said. "I don't think that's how anybody would have wanted to do it."

So Hebert and her boyfriend, LSU quarterback Myles Brennan, started brainstorming other ways to honor her grandfather — the patriarch of a Louisiana football family that includes former New Orleans Saints quarterback Bobby Hebert Jr. and former LSU offensive lineman T-Bob Hebert.

The pair settled on raising money in his memory that would benefit Ochsner, the hospital network that served Bobby Hebert Sr.'s medical needs for years.

His colon cancer treatment? Ochsner. His open heart surgery? Ochsner. His coronavirus diagnosis? Ochsner. And every appointment in between? Ochsner.

"My family's just really grateful for the care that they've given to him over all these years," Hebert said.

Brennan added: "(We're) giving them the money for ventilators or PPE, the personal protective equipment, or anything that they need to help them be as safe as possible."

Because of Brennan's involvement, he had to reach out to the compliance arm of LSU's athletic department and get the green light to ensure he wasn't violating NCAA rules.

Brennan said it took about a day for compliance to figure out logistics with the NCAA.

"We've got it all squared away," Brennan said Friday.

To keep kosher with compliance, Brennan and Hebert have to keep documentation of all the money their fund has received, who sent the money and where the money is being sent. 

One question Brennan has received since the GoFundMe launched is: "How are you involved with this?"

Bobby Hebert Sr. was like another grandparent to Brennan. Brennan and Erin Hebert have been dating for two years.

They'd all go out for dinner on Sundays — sometimes at Bobby Hebert's Cajun Cannon, where Bobby Hebert Sr. would routinely pretend like he was the restaurant's namesake.

"He would always say, 'I own this place,' even though that's not true at all," Erin Hebert said with a laugh.

Brennan added: "He would always call me 'Les' because of Les Miles. And Erin said he was one of my biggest fans."

Brennan and Bobby Hebert Sr. always talked about football, and now that Bobby Hebert Sr. has died, Brennan is even more fortunate that he got to see LSU win one more national title.

"At least he'll be able to watch us from above — if we can get out there this year," Brennan said. "We had a special connection."

Brennan and Hebert started the GoFundMe last week with an original goal of raising $7,000. The fund hit that and more within the first 24 hours.

Then, they increased the goal to $10,000, which was surpassed two days later. Their final goal now is $15,000.

As of Friday afternoon, the fund has raised more than $12,000.

Because they've nearly doubled their goal, they're now going to donate some of the money to two food banks in New Orleans — Second Harvest and Giving Hope.

They chose to give some of the additional funds to the food banks after hearing them ask for more donations on the radio.

"They're having to turn so many people away because they don't have the money or the food right now," Brennan said. "I felt like we should be able to help out them as well."

Brennan and Erin Hebert said they're in awe of just how much money people have donated and where those people are donating from.

Every time someone new donates, they look up the person so they can personally thank them for giving.

"It turned such a big heartbreak in my life into something that I can't even put into words," Erin Hebert said. "It means so much to me and has brought so much joy, a new amount of light into my life that people would be willing to help others in the name of my grandpa. It just has been just an overwhelmingly amazing experience in the best way possible."

To donate to the GoFundMe, search "Bobby Hebert Sr. COVID-19 Relief Fund."


Contact Amie Just at ajust@theadvocate.com.