Carnival Cruise Line joined forces with wide receiver and New Orleans native Ja’Marr Chase to welcome a group of 50 young students from area schools for a special event aboard Carnival Valor. Joining Chase to host the event was former Carnival Corporation President and CEO Arnold Donald, who was also born and raised in New Orleans and has had a successful career, including nine years at the helm of Carnival, the world’s largest cruise company. Both proud New Orleanians, Chase and Donald participated in a fireside chat followed by a Q&A with students, in which they shared more about their career journeys and experiences growing up in the area.

“Ja’Marr and I both attended school in New Orleans just like the students we welcomed to Carnival Valor and our history in the city has helped us become the professionals we are today,” said Donald. “Carnival is also proud to have operated in New Orleans for more than 25 years, so it was important for the cruise line to work together with Ja’Marr to do something special for the community. It was truly our pleasure to meet so many amazing New Orleans students and welcome them to our ship.”

While Chase is currently a star wide receiver, his career started in New Orleans where he played for Archbishop Rummel High School.

“I really enjoyed spending time with kids from my hometown community aboard Carnival’s beautiful ship,” said Chase. “I remember being in the same shoes as the students not too long ago and hope this experience will help inspire them to continue doing their best to achieve success in school and beyond.”

Carnival treated the kids to a fun-filled experience that, in addition to the Q&A with Ja’Marr and Arnold, included surprise giveaways and a delicious lunch featuring some of Carnival’s most popular offerings. Carnival also made a $10,000 donation to Communities in Schools Gulf South, Inc., a nonprofit that provides direct services in 18 New Orleans schools to help kids stay in school and achieve in life.

Joining Carnival to give the students a warm welcome were Port of New Orleans Commission Chairman Jack Jensen, New Orleans Public Schools Board Chair Olin Parker, New Orleans Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Sandra Lindquist, and New Orleans & Company Senior Vice President of Tourism Kim Priez.

Carnival is the number one cruise operator in New Orleans, with the greatest variety of cruise choices and itineraries. This special event was part of Carnival’s year-round efforts to give back to the homeport communities where it operates.