The Hurricanes

One High School Team's Homecoming After Katrina


By Jere Longman

Formats and Prices




$22.99 CAD




ebook $17.99 $22.99 CAD

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around August 26, 2008. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

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 Jer’ 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.


“Go where?”
“You got to go, the storm is coming.”
“Man, we not gonna get nothin’. It’s gonna turn.”
“Coach, we need to get out of here,” Wayne Williamson Sr., a sheriff’s deputy, told Cyril Crutchfield Jr., the football coach at Port Sulphur High in Louisiana’s Plaquemines Parish.
It was Saturday, August 27, 2005, at nine in the morning. The Port Sulphur players had gathered to watch video in the team’s locker room, which was painted purple and gold and fitted with latticed metal lockers. Williamson could see in Crutchfield’s eyes that the coach was not convinced of approaching danger. The night before, Port Sulphur had defeated nearby Buras High 24-0 in an exhibition football game known as a jamboree. The 2005 high school season was due to start in six days. Port Sulphur played in Class 1A, the smallest of Louisiana’s five football classes. Crutchfield and the Bronchos had won the state championship in 2002 after finishing as runners-up in 2001. Now they talked confidently again of “goin’ to the ’Dome,” shorthand for the five state-title games that were played each December at the Superdome in New Orleans.
Hurricane Katrina was heaving in the Gulf of Mexico, churning toward the vulnerable crescent of New Orleans. In two days, the storm would peel off sections of the Superdome roof and render it a hellish evacuation center, but Crutchfield was in no hurry to leave. He was in the middle of a workout. After the Bronchos lifted weights and reviewed video of the jamboree, they would run a series of short sprints to flush the soreness and exhaustion from their legs.
“Man, that thing’ll turn,” Crutchfield said.
“Coach, it’s not looking good,” Williamson said.
“How bad is it?”
“It’s bad.”
“Naw, it’ll turn.”
Katrina had raked across southern Florida three days earlier, weakening over land but reclaiming its strength in the warm, fuel-injected waters of the Gulf. It had become the third major hurricane of the season. Now, the storm had metastasized like a tumor, nearly doubling in size. On television, its clouds spread across the Gulf with a familiar, threatening, cotton-candy swirl. In a few hours, Katrina would reach Category 5 strength with sustained winds of 175 miles an hour.
It was now on a course for Plaquemines Parish, a rudderlike peninsula that took its name from a Native American word for persimmon. It was here, below New Orleans, that the Mississippi River began a final winding run of seventy-five miles to its bird-foot delta. The river bisected the parish, flowing past villages with whimsical, buoyant names like Phoenix, Bohemia, Davant, Pointe a la Hache, Diamond, Happy Jack, Grand Bayou, Port Sulphur, Homeplace, Empire, Buras, Triumph, Sunrise, Boothville, and Venice. With each mile, the city receded further into country. The prairie land narrowed and dissolved into marsh and the water, both fresh and salty, began to press in, taking hold, increasingly unimpeded to reward with its bounty or disrupt with its caprice.
Residents of lower Plaquemines lived surrounded by water, earned their incomes from its shrimp and oysters, and also understood their susceptibility to its destructive power. Highway 23 provided the asphalt spine of the river’s narrow west bank. One side of the four-lane was shouldered by the river levee. The other side was protected by the so-called back levee, which kept out water from fishing-rich marshes and bayous that buffered the Gulf. Down here, Highway 23 was the only road in or out. The only two directions were “up the road” and “down the road.” The southern tip of the parish was sometimes referred to as the end of the world.
Plaquemines (pronounced PLACK-uh-mins) remained as vital as it was isolated and vulnerable. The parish was a hub of Louisiana’s commercial fishing industry, which was second only to Alaska’s. About four hundred million pounds of menhaden, shrimp, oysters, and crabs were hauled from the waters of lower Plaquemines each year, ranking the county among the nation’s top five fishing ports. The oil and gas industry made Plaquemines the state’s “energy golden goose,” according to a study by Louisiana State University. Eleven thousand wells operated in the parish; another 1,100 operated in federal waters off the Plaquemines coastline. Together, they were responsible for about half of the Gulf’s oil production and a third of its natural gas production. The energy industry accounted for 2,600 jobs in the sparsely populated parish, which had contributed two billion dollars in mineral revenue to state coffers over the previous decade. Now the entire lower end of the parish sat in Katrina’s shattering path.
This was hardly the first time that Plaquemines Parish had faced a watery upheaval. The hurricane of 1915, a Category 4 storm, killed 275 people, including 100 from Myrtle Grove to Buras in Plaquemines. Miles of levees were washed away. The Times-Picayune of New Orleans told of stranded men and women in small boats and skiffs who pleaded to those in passing vessels, “Throw us a crust of bread, a biscuit, anything.”
That storm also resulted in the county’s most singular given name. Depending on who told the story, Clara Pinkins either gave a doctor-assisted birth just as the wind and water pounded her home or climbed into a cistern, made of cedar planks, and was blown from Ostrica on the east bank of the Mississippi to Buras on the west bank, where she remained until a Red Cross worker heard the crying of a baby. All parties were so relieved that the child was named Relief Jones, and the name has since been passed on to Relief II and Relief III.
During the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927, Plaquemines was sacrificed as a fail-safe plan for New Orleans. A levee was dynamited below New Orleans and both St. Bernard and Plaquemines parishes were inundated. Parts of lower Plaquemines were also swamped by Hurricane Betsy in 1965 and Hurricane Camille in 1969. People knew how to live with water. Old-timers told of building trapdoors in their houses or drilling holes in the floor as a kind of pressure valve, so that water would rise without destroying their properties. Some hoisted their furniture, left the doors and windows open, and simply sprayed the mud out when they got home. Others placed axes in the attic in case they had to chop their way through the roof. A few lashed themselves to trees or poles so that if they drowned in a storm, at least they could be found and claimed by relatives.
Yet there was less natural cushioning against hurricanes than there once had been. Plaquemines Parish, along with other parts of southeastern Louisiana, was sinking from the natural settling of soils and the extraction of millions of tons of oil and natural gas. Also, coastal erosion in southeastern Louisiana had eaten away 1,900 square miles of marshland since the 1930s; the equivalent of a football field was said to disappear every half hour. The Mississippi was harnessed and channeled to the Gulf by levees, halting the deposit of replenishing silt in the wetlands. As marshland and barrier islands became denuded, southeastern Louisiana lost its buffer against the churning wind and surge of a major storm.
Nowhere was the geographic susceptibility of lower Plaquemines more evident than at Port Sulphur High School, which sat on a sliver of land, not half a mile wide, flanked by the Mississippi and the marshes. Port Sulphur had escaped the worst floodwaters of Betsy and Camille, but, like New Orleans, it sat between levees in what amounted to an exposed bowl.
About nine thirty on this Saturday morning, Williamson drove fifty yards from the Port Sulphur football field to a parish jail that sat in the same block as the library, the fire station, and a small cemetery. He was a gregarious, stocky man whose build suggested that he was a former lineman on the team. Before he reached the lockup, the deputy received a phone call. Parish administrators had just concluded a meeting. There was a mandatory evacuation from Belle Chasse at the northern end of Plaquemines to Venice on the lower end. A few minutes later, Williamson made the short drive back to Port Sulphur High.
“Coach, we got the call,” he told Crutchfield. “It’s a mandatory evacuation. We got to go.”
“What you think?” Crutchfield asked.
“I think you need to go. We all need to go.”
“I’ll call you when I decide.”
Crutchfield would never make the call. Williamson had not expected him to. The coach thought the storm would swerve toward Mississippi or Alabama. They always seemed to take a jog at the last minute. In September 2004, a year earlier, Hurricane Ivan had menaced Louisiana, only to turn and wreak its destruction on Gulf Shores, Alabama. The residents of Plaquemines Parish had left ahead of Ivan, but it turned out to be a false alarm, and they were all back home in two or three days. Many of those who left ahead of Katrina would pack nothing more than a couple changes of clothes.
At the same time, Williamson noticed apprehension in the eyes of some Port Sulphur players, including his own son, Wayne Jr., who was a sophomore defensive back. This was a huge storm. The night before, Big Wayne and some of the other deputies at the Port Sulphur jamboree noticed storm birds coming out of the marsh, heading inland. They had pointed wings and long bodies, probably magnificent frigate birds, and the locals knew they signaled the arrival of tropical weather. By the dozens, seemingly hundreds, they had flown over the football stadium at Fort Jackson, south of Port Sulphur, flocking like pelicans during migration.
“I believe we’ll be evacuating tomorrow,” one of the deputies had said, looking at the sky as the birds headed north.
He had been prescient in his forecast. Now people would be following the storm birds, trying to find shelter inland. Everyone would begin leaving this Saturday morning, or Sunday at the latest. Everyone but hardheads like Crutchfield. He was a native not of Plaquemines Parish but of Covington, in the piney area beyond the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain. For him, hurricanes meant rain and wind, but flooding for someone else. He was beginning his seventh season as head coach at Port Sulphur, but he still possessed a newcomer’s naïveté and hubris, believing he and the small community were somehow invincible to bad weather.
“Coach, you need to get these kids home,” Williamson insisted.
Reluctantly, Crutchfield turned off the television in the locker room and shut down practice early. The players had not even taken the field to stretch and run the fatigue out of their legs. They had been watching video of Port Sulphur’s first regular-season opponent, Belle Chasse, a Class 4A school and a bitter parish rivalry.
“Don’t let your momma and daddy take you all across the country,” Crutchfield told his players. “The thing’ll be through here Sunday or Monday. We’ll be back in school Wednesday or Thursday. We’re gonna play Belle Chasse on Saturday; if we’ve got to, we’ll play on Sunday, but we’re gonna play ’em.”
Then the players gathered in a circle, holding hands, and said the team prayer that they repeated each day of every season:
Dear Lord,
The battles we go through in life
We ask for a chance to be fair,
A chance to equal all our strife,
A chance to do or dare.
If we shall win, may it be by the code,
With our faith and honor held high.
If we shall lose, may we stand by the road
And cheer as the winners go by.
By day by day, get better and better.
A team that won’t be beat, can’t be beat.
In Jesus’ name, one, two, three Bronchos.
As he spoke to Crutchfield, Williamson began laughing. He liked the coach’s courage, even if it seemed misplaced this morning. The deputy had grown up in Port Sulphur, had played on its football teams in the late 1970s, and had escorted the team bus to games for sixteen years. He appreciated Crutchfield’s confidence, the way he always believed that he and his team would prevail over their opponents. But this adversary was a hurricane, not a football team, and it was time to make serious preparations to leave the parish. If Crutchfield had no intention of evacuating, his players and their families would not be so recklessly cavalier. They would want to get on the road before Interstate 10 toward Texas became jammed and gasoline grew as scarce as hotel rooms.
The Port Sulphur players piled into a school bus and Crutchfield dropped them at their various homes. While their parents spent all that money on hotel rooms, he told them, he would be home playing dominoes.
“See you in a couple days,” a young lineman named Sal Cepriano told him.
Crutchfield parked the bus at a depot two miles from school, picked up his Ford Explorer, and returned to the apartment house where he lived, just beyond the east end zone at Port Sulphur High. The sunny sky did not hint of an approaching storm, even as Katrina reached Category 5 by one in the afternoon. Crutchfield checked on the weather occasionally, saw that southeastern Louisiana was directly in the hurricane’s path, but still felt no pressing need to leave.
He had a football game to plan. Belle Chasse had defeated Port Sulphur two seasons in a row, and now it was payback time. On its own level, the rivalry was no less impassioned than Ohio State versus Michigan.
There were race and class divides between the northern end of Plaquemines Parish and the southern end. Belle Chasse, more than 90 percent white and located seven miles from New Orleans, had more than a third of the parish’s prestorm population of twenty-seven thousand, as well as its highest property values, educational level, and average household income. Forty miles to the south, Port Sulphur was racially diverse, but the high school was predominantly black. Once, Port Sulphur had flourished as a company town for the Freeport Sulphur Company. But as the price of sulfur dropped, the company ceased local operations in 2000, and Port Sulphur lost its economic ballast. “A dying town,” Jiff Hingle, the parish sheriff, called it.
It was football that now provided Port Sulphur, population 3,115, with its most visible sense of achievement. And there could be no more satisfying way to start a season than to defeat Belle Chasse. “We’re going to pound ’em,” Crutchfield told his players, thinking to himself, There’s gonna be an ass-whuppin’.
On Sunday morning, August 28, Crutchfield awakened about five thirty, took a quick ride through town, and saw people packing to leave. It seemed panicky, unnecessary. They’re stupid, he told himself. He lay down for a nap, awakened about eight or eight thirty, and took a walk outside his apartment, which stood only a block from Highway 23. All the cars were headed north.
Hollie Russell, a French teacher at Port Sulphur High, drove past with her family, starting what would become a twelve-hour drive to southwestern Louisiana. Crutchfield was sitting on his steps in shorts and flip-flops.
“Where you gonna go?” Russell asked him.
He would ride it out in the school, Crutchfield said.
“I’ll be okay,” he said.
“Don’t be stupid,” Russell told him.
An acquaintance, Wade Gabriel, rode by as Crutchfield stood outside, talking on his cell phone. He was staying, too. He would pass back by in a little bit. Later, Anthony Anderson, whom everybody called Cobb, stopped by.
“You ain’t leavin’?” Cobb asked.
“You know I ain’t leavin’,” Crutchfield said.
“Okay,” Cobb said. “I’m coming back. I ain’t leavin’ either.”
The sky was cloudy, and around noon, rain began to fall. The hurricane was still headed directly for New Orleans; it had not turned as Crutchfield had predicted. He began to gather his belongings in case the wind blew the roof off his apartment or shattered the windows. He put most of his clothes, his television, and his computer in his Explorer. Then he drove the short distance to the two-story brick school. He returned home, loaded the floral mattress from his bed, and drove back to school, placing the mattress on the floor of the industrial arts classroom.
He also grabbed his barbecue grill and flashlight. The electricity would surely go out, but he would use the flashlight to finish his game plan for Belle Chasse. By the time his players returned, the plan would be in place. He already knew exactly what he wanted to do.
At thirty-eight, with a shaved head and dressed in a white T-SHIRT and blue-jean shorts, Crutchfield still possessed the wide shoulders and narrow hips of the all-American defensive back that he had been in the 1980s at Northeast Louisiana, now renamed the University of Louisiana-Monroe. He was obsessed with football, and it showed in Port Sulphur’s results on the field. Only once in his six previous seasons had the team failed to advance as far as the state quarterfinals. When he coached track in the spring, Crutchfield said he might schedule eight meets each year but only attend about three. The others, he would tell his athletes in a ruse, had been canceled. This left them free to practice spring football or lift weights in anticipation of the coming season.
Rodney Bartholomew Sr., a sheriff’s deputy, drove by the school to check on Crutchfield, Cobb, Gabriel, and another man named Russell Smith. The deputy found them sitting outside the industrial arts building, preparing to barbecue hamburgers and sausage. He was eating an ice-cream bar, and the others wanted one, too, so Bartholomew drove to the nearby parish jail and returned with a handful of treats. He stayed about an hour. The talk was all about Katrina and Belle Chasse.
“What you think?” Crutchfield asked.
“If it takes a turn, we’re gonna be playing ball Saturday,” Bartholomew said.
“I’m hoping for Saturday, too.”
“If it doesn’t make a turn and still misses us, we’ll be playing Sunday,” Bartholomew said.
“One of these days, we’ll be playing ball,” Crutchfield replied.
“Yeah, Crutch,” Bartholomew said, “we gotta whip they behinds.”
They kept talking about the game, and finally Bartholomew said, “All jokes aside, coach, if the hurricane don’t turn and you see the weather getting real bad, man, you oughta get up and go. It’s nothing to play with.”
“Okay,” Crutchfield said to assuage his friend. He had no intention of leaving.
Bartholomew was headed up to Belle Chasse, where the sheriff’s department had set up its emergency operations.
Crutchfield said he would stick it out.
“I ain’t going nowhere,” the coach told the deputy. “Port Sulphur is my home. I’m going to live and die in Port Sulphur.”
“Y’all be careful,” Bartholemew said, and he drove off.
About five p.m., Crutchfield and his friends took a ride on a pair of four-wheelers along the marsh levee behind Port Sulphur High. Crutchfield saw something he had never seen before. The water seemed low, about fifteen feet short of the normal shoreline, as if it were being sucked out into the Gulf.
At eight o’clock, the sheriff’s department made one final plea for Crutchfield to leave. Colonel Charles Guey, operations chief for the department, drove by the school and said, “You need to get out; we’re leaving and shutting everything down.”
“I’ll be all right,” Crutchfield said. “I don’t think it’ll be that bad.”
“It will be,” Guey said.
“You think water’s coming in here?” Crutchfield asked.
“Yeah, it’s coming,” Guey said. “It’s gonna come from Barataria Bay faster than you can blink your eyes.”
After Guey pulled out, Crutchfield and his friends were on their own. Gabriel pulled his pickup near the industrial arts building and placed a battery-powered television on the hood of the truck. The men sat amid the table saws and ripsaws and wood lathes and talked and watched WVUE in New Orleans, Channel Eight. Gabriel later remembered the station’s weatherman, Bob Breck, rolling up his sleeves and saying that anyone remaining in Plaquemines Parish should buckle down. It was going to be bad. Crutchfield remembered Breck being more blunt: “Anyone still left in Plaquemines Parish is crazy.”
The group had now expanded to six men. While a couple guys watched television, Crutchfield lay on his mattress and tried to sleep. An alarming noise awakened him. It sounded like the whistling of tornadoes. Rocks began to hit the windows. The hissing and howling whistles kept coming, from one side of the school then the other, outside this window then that one, as if some mischievous trick were being played by a meteorological prankster.
Lord have mercy, Crutchfield told himself.
He went back to sleep but awakened again around ten thirty p.m. Projectiles kept slamming into the windows of the industrial arts classroom. A gust of wind blew the television off the hood of Gabriel’s pickup. One of the classroom windows broke, and Crutchfield and the others made a run for it, sprinting into the main section of the high school. Using his flashlight, he saw someone sitting on a chair in the hallway. Another man sat on a sofa in the teachers’ lounge. These were new arrivals. Now eight of them would ride out the storm together.
They headed for the cafeteria, and finding apparent safety in numbers, the men began to laugh and talk about football again. Sure, the school might get some water, but probably not a lot of damage.
“You think you gonna play Belle Chasse?” Gabriel asked.
“Yeah, we gonna play,” Crutchfield said.
One of the windows in the cafeteria broke. A panel above another window seemed to begin breathing as it sucked inward and outward in the wind. Crutchfield had left his mattress in the industrial arts building, so he took a spot on the floor, placing his head on a duffel bag, trying to shield himself from the possibility of flying glass. About three a.m., Gabriel received a call from a friend on his cell phone. More windows had fissured and the wind was shrieking. “You standing outside?” the friend asked. No, Gabriel said. He was in the cafeteria. Some of the men slept, while others kept watch. Between three and three thirty, Crutchfield awakened on the floor and felt wet. He climbed on a cafeteria table and fell asleep again until about four thirty, when Cobb began to shake him.
“Coach, wake up, water’s coming in,” Cobb said.
“Quit playin’ Cobb,” Crutchfield said. “You trippin’.”
No, Cobb insisted, he was serious. Crutchfield shined his flashlight into a school courtyard. Water had reached the second of four steps leading into the cafeteria. Crutchfield could see a small wave cresting from the industrial arts building. The wind pushed the wave with such force that it hit the steps and splashed against the cafeteria door.
Katrina was scything toward landfall at 6:10 a.m. on August 29, weakening slightly but still bearing winds of 120 miles an hour and pushing a twenty-foot-plus storm surge. The hurricane would slam into Plaquemines Parish only thirteen miles to the south, near Buras.
Crutchfield hurried out of the cafeteria, down a hallway to a special education classroom on the first floor, where he had stored his clothes, his television, and his computer. He began carrying the items to his second-floor classroom. By the time he had made several trips up and down the stairs, water on the lower floor of the school had risen to his midcalf.
“Man, let’s go to the gym,” someone said. “It’s higher than the second floor.”
It was a short distance from the cafeteria, but Crutchfield was nervous now, and he began fumbling with his set of master keys. By the time he unlocked the safety bar on the gym door, the water inside was up to his waist. The door opened and a piano pushed outward with the swirling force. Crutchfield jumped out of the way, but another of the men, a guy who must have weighed four hundred pounds, got pinned against a wall.
Others tried to free the piano, but Crutchfield was terrified of what might be in the water. He kept running to his left toward the gym’s bleachers, high-stepping along the baseline of the hardwood floor as if he were in the surf trying to reach a beach. Water splashed into his mouth and tasted salty. Something floated past and brushed him, a rug, maybe, or a floor mat. Crutchfield thought it was a snake. Instead of walking up the steps to the bleachers, he grabbed a railing and slung himself over the top.
Later he would apologize to the trapped man and would consider his actions selfish, but at the time he never thought, Oh, he’s back there, I’m leaving him. All he knew was that the water held hidden, dangerous things and if he had to save anybody, it was himself. Another man, Cobb, did free the piano, and he suffered a deep gash in his leg. The others would later joke that Crutchfield was the only man besides Jesus to walk on water.
Eventually, all of them made it safely to the bleachers. Across the hardwood court sat a stage adorned with purple velvet drapes. From the ceiling, purple and gold banners hung in the school colors, commemorating Port Sulphur’s athletic greatness: state championships in football in 1979, 1981, and 2002; a state championship in track in 1974; state championships in baseball in 1974 and 1978; a state title in basketball in 1982.
Eleven rows of bleachers led upward to a bank of windows below the ceiling. A wall of water had formed in Breton Sound to the east. Pushed by Katrina’s counterclockwise winds, the storm surge had swamped the east bank of lower Plaquemines, crossed the Mississippi River, and topped and breached the river levee on the west bank, pouring into Port Sulphur. To the men in the gym, it seemed now that the school was in the middle of the Gulf. Water rose steadily. In the semidarkness, it was brown black, like the Skoal that Crutchfield dipped, and it rose steadily, up one row of bleachers, then the next.


  • Biloxi Sun-Herald, July, 27, 2008
    “A chill ran down my spine as I was reading the first chapter of "The Hurricanes," a story of high school football in south Louisiana in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.”

    Sports Illustrated , September 15, 2008
    The Hurricanes…is the richest, most engrossing treatment of high school football and community since Friday Night Lights.”
    New York Times Book Review, September 7, 2008
    “The losses and the struggle for revival [Longman] movingly examines take place in the real world of FEMA trailers and displaced families as much as in the artificial one of a football game.”
    New York Post, August 24, 2008
    "The Hurricanes" is solidly reported, but it's a sports book at heart.”
    New Orleans Times-Picayune, October 18
    “Longman combines a great sports story with a telling human saga…Longman knows the culture, and he beautifully spins his tale of sports triumph into something grander, a chronicle of Louisiana life, a plea to save the wetlands, an examination on the demands on these young men and their families in the wake of horrific disaster.”
  • Buzz Bissinger, author of Friday Night Lights and Three Nights in August
    “Jeré Longman has written a book that is beautiful, poignant, and shows us all that sports can be, and so rarely is anymore, in our winning-at-all-costs culture. You will love The Hurricanes.”

    Neil Swidey, author of The Assist
    “This captivating tale of struggle and triumph in post-Katrina Louisiana is ostensibly about football. But powered by Jeré Longman’s restless curiosity, it delivers so much more, taking readers from the gridiron to FEMA trailer parks and oyster grounds, and proving once again that big new stories really get interesting only after the packs of live-shot reporters have ridden their satellite trucks out of town.”
    Kevin Merida, associate editor of The Washington Post and editor of Being a Black Man: At the Corner of Progress and Peril
    “Jeré Longman’s The Hurricanes is a riveting triumph. Written with exquisite detail, it has soul and verve and poignancy. Longman captures not only the human drama of a storm-displaced high school football team, but reminds us that the tragedies of Katrina live on. From the moment I started reading this book, I didn’t want to put it down.”

On Sale
Aug 26, 2008
Page Count
304 pages

Jere Longman

About the Author

Jeréongman, 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. Jerés 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.

Learn more about this author