New Bern mayor pounds the drum before Panthers game; ‘We are always there for each other’

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The mayor of New Bern was invited on the field to bang the drum for the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.

Mayor Dana Outlaw pounded on the drum and then shook hands with Panthers head coach Ron Rivera before Carolina’s home game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

“It’s very exciting,” Outlaw said. “This is Carolina’s issue. The Carolinas, we get pounded quite often with hurricanes, but we are always there for each other.”

Restoration efforts are still underway more than a week after the deadly Hurricane Florence made landfall on the North Carolina coast.

Damage to New Bern

Over 4,300 homes in New Bern were damaged or destroyed, and over 300 businesses suffered the same fate, according to City Manager Mark Stephens.

“Our city has suffered one of the worst storms ever in its 308-year history,” Stephens said Monday.

New Bern sits along the Neuse River, which combined with heavy rain to create flooding. Although there were no known fatalities in New Bern from Florence, emergency personnel rescued 800 people from flooded homes during the storm, Stephens said.

The wind, rain and flooding also dislodged the city’s beloved bear statues. They are usually bolted to the ground, but the statues’ thick pedestals were uprooted and washed away, the city said.

The Neuse River near Goldsboro, about 60 miles from New Bern, has already reached 25.62 feet and is still rising. The river, well into the major flood stage, is forecast to crest at 26.1 feet on Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.

CNN contributed to this article.