by Kurt Jostes
When life takes away your power and A/C for a week, go watch a football game. That was the thinking of the 90,000-plus Louisianans who traveled to Baton Rouge last Saturday to watch LSU’s home opener.
The familiar buzz of generators and wafts of delectable pre-game fixings were a welcome relief to the headaches of post-storm cleanup. It seemed like any other gameday, until the game actually began.
Saturday night in Tiger Stadium is one of the most intimidating places to play in college football. Famously the site of the “earthquake game” of 1988, where the sound of the crowd registered on a seismograph in the science department across campus, it’s earned every bit of its nickname, Death Valley.
But this past Saturday, something was clearly different shortly after kickoff. As LSU pulled away from the not-so-Mean Green of North Texas, the crowd grew noticeably quiet by the second quarter.
So quiet, in fact, that North Texas’ quarterback’s calls were audible, even in the upper deck. I can’t remember ever hearing the opposing team’s quarterback at an LSU game.
By halftime, Tiger Stadium was half-full, if that. As LSU pulled further ahead late in the third quarter, nearly everyone left, and we did too. It wasn’t because it was a blowout, though that did make the decision easier.
We were just dog tired, and knew there was a whole lot of work ahead of us.
Fortunately, we had a place to go home to, and though some of our utilities are still out, we really have nothing to complain about.
It’s difficult to fathom, but thousands of people still haven’t come home in the seven years since Katrina. I can’t begin to imagine the degree of frustration and number of headaches that have built up in that time.
This past week, though it wasn’t on the scale of Katrina, hundreds of families in Braithewaite, LaPlace and other areas lost their homes to storm surge flooding.
I hope and pray that we’re able to help all of them return home before another seven years passes. With your help, we can.