Abp. Hannan carves a football oasis from woodlands
I confess, I still sometimes miss the campus in Meraux that once housed the Archbishop Hannan High School complex.
Principal John Serio had built an educational and athletic compound that was second to none among small high schools in Louisiana. And I’ve covered events at many of them, from Hackberry to Basile to Iota.
The baseball stadium lights rivaled those of Tulane’s Turchin Field. And the burgers were arguably the tastiest of all prep concession stands.
Hannan’s jamboree was always my first stop of the prep football season. It was there I could watch three archdiocesan schools – Hannan, Archbishop Shaw and Archbishop Rummel – shake out their kinks. The fourth team was always East Jefferson.
Sometimes, Redeemer-Seton, Riverdale and Pearl River replaced Shaw, Rummel and EJ.
It was at Hawks Stadium where I saw Hannan play its final game in St. Bernard parish and Redeemer-Seton end its athletic history on the final Friday of August 2005. A week later, neither campus existed.
Redeemer-Seton is gone, replaced by the Student Center and baseball field at Holy Cross. Serio is an administrator at Kehoe-France School, and Hannan High has been given new life in the northshore community of Goodbee, an area of west St. Tammany Parish ripe for growth.
And the school is growing rapidly with it.
After five years of competing as a Class 1A school, Hannan is about to move up to Class 2A.
No longer will the Hawks have to compete against perennial 1A powers Southern Lab and Kentwood. It will likely be placed in a district with schools like Pope John Paul II, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Helena Central, Springfield, Pine and Northlake Christian. Most are within an hour’s driving distance.
And the Hawks will no longer have to play under the amp-deprived candlelights of Pitcher Stadium.
They have a facility on campus – the new Hawk Stadium, initiated on Oct. 26 with a 49-0 victory over Mount Hermon.
The stadium with its grass playing field stands like an oasis rising from a wooded area north of the campus.
The aluminum bleachers seat 1,300 on the south side of the facility. The background of the opposite side, where the football team chose to have its bench, is a wooded area. Like the old Hannan, the area has a squadron of mosquitoes, so large that they should have insignias on their wings.
Four light standards offer ample illumination for events.
Behind and just left of the goalposts are two drainage ponds. One has a canoe on its bank just in case the battalion of students assigned to intercept point-after and field goal kicks fail to save the football from a watery landing.
But the stadium has growth potential as the student enrollment continues to increase with the number of Catholic families moving into this community.
Future plans include adding bleachers to the north side and a combination concession stand and restroom facility.
Dominican Father Charles Latour, Archbishop Hannan’s principal, proudly cut the ribbon prior to the opening kickoff of their Hawks’ first homecoming game. Hannan is at home in an ideal location. And, you know, the scent of the burgers is as aromatic as ever.