Original Divine Mercy image was very well-traveled
Filmmaker and director Daniel diSilva paid a special visit Oct. 13 to Visitation of Our Lady Church in Marrero to tell parishioners about his quest to discover the original image of the Divine Mercy Jesus as first seen by St. Maria Faustina Kowalska.
‘Shrine on Airline’ hardly a substitute for Gormley
The trade-out is a Friday night football game.
I get that because Friday has always been the prime night for high school games.
Saturday attendance suffers when LSU is playing.
But after a first-hand look at the Zephyr Field configuration on Friday before and during the Holy Cross-Brother Martin game, it became obvious that the vaunted “Shrine on Airline” is not the ideal plot of land on which to play the game of hard knocks.
It’s a baseball stadium, one of the best among AAA minor league venues.
I can now imagine what it was like in the Fred Flintstone era of prep sports when local schools played at Heinemann Park (circa 1920s-’30s), where the New Orleans Pelicans called home through 1957.
My impression came as soon as I entered the stadium. There I saw six football officials and an electric clock operator receiving their instructions from referee Jim Radcliffe while cramped in a locker room designed for three baseball umpires.
One of the officials’ concerns was the gravel-laden diamond, which is slippery for officials back-peddling to stay with the play. Officials like nothing less than finding themselves on the turf.
Because the North end zone backs into the right field bleachers, the best sight lines are the seats along the left field line. But that part of the stadium is farther away from the field than the temporary bleachers erected behind the visitors’ bench.
The field itself fits snugly into the enclosure. It’s rather amusing to see a retriever disappear through a door cut into the left centerfield fence to fetch the ball outside the stadium after a field goal or PAT attempt.
The North end zone offers no such comedy. There are enough good samaritans sitting in that section to return the ball to the field.
Although the game was Holy Cross’ homecoming, the attendance was not what I expected, perhaps because the two schools are located in Orleans Parish and the stadium is in Jefferson.
So why Zephyr Field?
A Friday night game at Tad Gormley Stadium costs the home team $3,200.
Above that fee, the host school pays for police, the officials (usually seven for a Catholic League game) plus the clock operators, an ambulance crew and ticket takers.
The Zephyrs’ management charges the home team $5,600 but pays all other fees except for the football officials’ cost. Of course, the security is the same personnel the Zephyrs use for their games and are probably less expensive than detailed police officers.
District 9-5A (the Catholic League) has the only football program capable of paying that fee and still make a profit.
The six Catholic schools accepted the Zephyrs management’s hospitality for another reason. According to two athletic directors, they wanted to give John Curtis a better home field than Muss Bertolino Playground provided the River Ridge school.
Curtis has played home games at Joe Yenni Stadium, too, but Archbishop Rummel has first choice on the 8,000-seat facility on East Jefferson High’s campus if the parish’s public schools are not using the stadium.
Will the seven schools (Archbishops Rummel and Shaw, Jesuit, Holy Cross, St. Augustine, Brother Martin and Curtis) re-sign for a 2017 season?
St. Augustine factions have pointed out that their fans would prefer to play at Gormley. Rummel is quite happy to use Yenni as its home base, and Shaw is equally satisfied to play its games at West Jefferson’s Hoss Memtsas Stadium.
That leaves Jesuit, Brother Martin and Holy Cross to decide if playing home football games in Jefferson Parish rather than Gormley, a stadium built for New Orleans high school football, is the better option.
Thinking out loud
As a Catholic, I have compassion for the unfortunate. I also believe, as a follower of high school sports, that there are occasions when conventional wisdom doesn’t benefit everyone.
Take for example, the plight of a group of five Orleans Parish public and charter schools, born in the wake of Hurricane Katrina; they have no business playing in football districts against more established programs.
Joseph S. Clark, named for the founder and one-time president of Southern University, opened in 1947. It was at one time a power among local African-American schools. But in recent years, the football program has faltered.
Clark has a record of 0-7. Its 21-man team has been outscored 266 points to 20, and it’s in a district with De La Salle, St. James and Lutcher.
KIPP Renaissance has a win over another KIPP school (stands for Knowledge is Power Program), but has since lost six consecutive games and has been outpointed, 341-46.
Then there is Sophie Wright, a junior high back in the day, which has lost all five games by a combined score of 207-8.
The Warriors are toiling in a district with state powers Riverside Academy, St. Charles Catholic (to whom it lost, 38-0, last week) and Newman.
In Central City is Cohen College Prep, which dates back to the 1950s. The football team has a 0-6 record and has been outscored, 233-28.
The most successful of the bunch is Sci Academy, a Class 3A school located in New Orleans East (the site of Abramson High). The Nautilus have won three of seven games but have been beaten by an average score of 24-14.
Schools with struggling programs like theirs don’t need to take sound beatings every week because they are not properly prepared. They should be placed in an independent district, play each other twice, then return to an LHSAA district to compete for championship honors in a sport in which they can succeed – basketball.
Henriette’s legacy is her community’s love for poor
The recently opened exhibit, “The Life and Legacy of Henriette Delille,” which runs through Sept. 1, 2017
Religious sister finds her niche as pediatric nurse
As grueling as it is to care for children with grave medical conditions, Sister Thu Mai Nguyen finds herself missing her little patients almost as soon as she leaves her 12-hour shifts as a registered nurse on Ochsner Hospital’s pediatric floor.
Pray for healing
Archbishop Gregory Aymond, kneeling at right, celebrated the annual Mass for the Victims and Survivors of Violence Oct. 16
Loyalty based on track record of fidelity, teachers told
How to gain and maintain loyalty was the message of James Kane when speaking Oct. 13 to educators from Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida at the 50th annual Catholic Administrators Conference held in Mississippi.