Monday, January 20, 2020
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Football & band at a flood-soaked La. school

Floods destroyed homes and businesses, killing about a dozen people, around Baton Rouge, Louisiana, two weeks ago. Some schools in the area are still closed. But football season opens Friday for the Yellow Jackets at Denham Springs High School, and coach Dru Nettles got the team out for practice last week, the Associated Press reports.

School started for students on August 4 at this A-rated school in Livingston Parish, and the flooding happened about 11 days later. Maybe a dozen or so players couldn’t make it to the first practice since the flood, an excused absence given that about 90 percent of the homes and businesses in Denham Springs were destroyed in the floods. But any sign that life is returning to normal has a tendency to lift people’s spirits.

“If you look at the back of campus, the one thing that didn’t go underwater was this logo,” Mr Nettles said, referring to a sign with the school’s colors. “Awesome sign right there that this ‘DS’ was shining … to give people hope.”

The area received more than two feet of rain over a span of three days, and the team’s locker room was flooded, the AP reported. Mayor Gerard Landry said it could take years to return to normal. But there will be football, thanks to the spirit of a team that had to dress in the open air. And there will be a marching band.

The first home game will be on September 9, although the team has an away game this week. In the past, home games have filled the stands in this town of about 10,000 near the state’s capital, but the floods have now changed every topic of conversation fans might have.

“Nothing you experience out here is going to be any tougher than you’ve had,” Mr Nettles was quoted as telling his players on the field. One player, whose family lost their home and whose father lost two business properties in the flood, will be moving to New Orleans. But he wanted to practice with the team one last time, saying it felt like a brotherhood.

At a band rehearsal Thursday, many band members hugged each other and caught up with their friends on the happenings around town, talking “about how many feet of water they got in their homes,” band director Andrew Hunter was quoted as saying. “That’s what we talk about now.”

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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