The Hurricanes: One High School Team's Homecoming After Katrina

The Hurricanes: One High School Team's Homecoming After Katrina

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by Jere Longman
     
 

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In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina pummeled the lower end of Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, a peninsula housing one of the nation’s most isolated, vulnerable, and vital counties. A year later several ravaged communities came together to form South Plaquemines High. Kids who were former rivals defiantly nicknamed their football team the Hurricanes and made the

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Overview

In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina pummeled the lower end of Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, a peninsula housing one of the nation’s most isolated, vulnerable, and vital counties. A year later several ravaged communities came together to form South Plaquemines High. Kids who were former rivals defiantly nicknamed their football team the Hurricanes and made the 2006 state playoffs.

In 2007, South Plaquemines set its sights on a state championship. The Hurricanes used a trailer as a makeshift locker room and lifted weights in a destroyed gym that had no electricity. For the players, many of them still living in FEMA trailers, football offered a refuge.

Bestselling author Jeré Longman spent two seasons following the team. In The Hurricanes, the team’s journey provides a lens through which to view the legacy of Katrina, the cycle of poverty in rural America, and the attempt to maintain traditions in the face of uncertainty. Football is a familiar remnant of the way things used to be—and a sign of hope in a place of disaster.

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Editorial Reviews

Jay Jennings
Longman, a native of south Louisiana and a sports reporter for The New York Times, is at his best when writing mini-essays on history, geography and sociology, and when describing, in all their rustic simplicity, the residents: their hearty acceptance of difficult jobs, their rich enjoyment of good food ("cooks knew how to smother a raccoon in wild onions until the meat fell from the bone"), their commitment to family and friends.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
A year after Hurricane Katrina pummeled the lower end of New Orleans' Plaquemines Parish, a peninsula housing one of the nation's most isolated and vulnerable counties, students from several demolished area schools set aside their rivalries at newly created South Plaquemines High. Cyril Crutchfield Jr., former coach at Port Sulphur High, took over the new school's football team-called, naturally, the Hurricanes-and led a ragtag group of players, living in FEMA trailers and lifting weights in a crumbling gymnasium, to the 2006 state playoffs. In 2007, the Hurricanes made another bid for the state championship, and New York Times sports writer Longman (Among the Heroes: United Flight 93 and the Passengers and Crew Who Fought Back) was granted exclusive access to every down. The result is an unflinching and often unflattering chronicle that reads like the series of newspaper articles it began as. It's clear that Longman, a native Louisianan, immersed himself in the local culture, and his insistence on providing political and social context makes this much more than a sports book. Unfortunately, Logman gets bogged down in that context ( as in nearly 20 pages on oyster farming), trying to make a big story-full of heart, sacrifice and the kind of American stories for which "inspired by" movies are made-even bigger.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal

Adult/High School

Longman follows high school football coach Cyril Crutchfield, Jr., in his dogged determination to rebuild Louisiana's Plaquemines Parish through the sport. Teen rivals from three different schools joined together at the new South Plaquemines High. Overcoming many obstacles-including lifting weights in a makeshift training room in a ruined gym while watching highlights of opposing teams on a VCR run by a generator-this team made it to the 2006 state playoffs. Their goal for the next season was the state championship at the Dome in New Orleans. In addition to being a story about football, the book showcases the rebuilding of a community rich in tradition and commitment to family. It also highlights struggles with insurance companies, the poorly built FEMA trailers, and government subsidies. Share this title with fans of Friday Night Lights or those who want to learn about the effects of Hurricane Katrina on a small community.-Gregory Lum, Jesuit High School, Portland, OR

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781586486730
Publisher:
PublicAffairs
Publication date:
08/25/2008
Pages:
384
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.30(d)

Meet the Author

Jeré Longman, a sportswriter for The New York Times who has written about sports for over thirty years, grew up on the Cajun prairie in Eunice, Louisiana. Jeré is the author of the New York Times bestseller and Notable Book, Among the Heroes: United Flight 93 and the Passengers and Crew Who Fought Back, The Girls of Summer, and If Football’s a Religion, Then Why Don’t We Have a Prayer? He lives in Philadelphia.

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