Hurricane Season: A Coach, His Team, and Their Triumph in the Time of Katrina

by Neal Thompson

There’s always a point in the season when you’re faced with a challengeand you see what you’re capableof.

  • Hardcover
  • Pages: 320 pages
  • Average Rating: 3.97 out of 5
  • Published July 31st 2007 by Free Press
  • Original Title: Hurricane Season: A Coach
  • His Team
  • and Their Triumph in the Time of Katrina
  • ISBN: 1416540709 (ISBN13: 9781416540700)
  • Edition Language: English

There’s always a point in the season when you’re faced with a challengeand you see what you’re capable of. And you grow up.” — J.T. Curtis, head coach, John Curtis Christian School PatriotsOn Saturday, August 27, 2005, the John Curtis Patriots met for agrueling practice in the late summer New Orleans sun, the air a visiblefog of humidity. They had pulled off a 19-0 shutout in their pre-seasongame the night before, but it was a game full of dumb mistakes. Headcoach J.T. Curtis was determined to drill those mistakes out of thembefore their highly anticipated next game, which sportswriters haddubbed “the Battle of the Bayou” against a big team coming in all theway from Utah. As fate played out, that afternoon was the last time thePatriots would see one another for weeks; some teammates they’d neversee again. Hurricane Katrina was about to tear their lives apart.The Patriots are a most unlikely football dynasty. There is a small, nondescript, family-run school, the buildings constructed by hand by theschool’s founding patriarch, John Curtis Sr. In this era of high schoolfootball as big business with 20,000 seat stadiums, John Curtis has nostadium of its own. The team plays an old-school offense, and CoachCurtis insists on a no-cut policy, giving every kid who wants to play achance. As of 2005, they’d won nineteen state championships in Curtis’sthirty-five years of coaching, making him the second most winning highschool coach ever. Curtis has honed to a fine art the skill of teachingplayers how to transcend their natural talents. No screamer, he strivesto teach kids about playing with purpose, the power of respect, dignity, poise, patience, trust in teamwork, and the payoff of perseverance, showing them how to be winners not only on the gridiron, but in life, and making boys into men. Hurricane Katrina would put those lessons tothe test of a lifetime.”Hurricane Season” is the story of a great coach, his team, his family, and their school — and a remarkable fight back from shocking tragedy. Itis a story of football and faith, and of the transformative power of ateam that rises above adversity, and above its own abilities, to cometogether again and prove what they’re made of. It is the gripping storyof how, as one player put it, “football became my place of peace.